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Nevada's Republican governor endorses Trump for president three weeks ahead of party-run caucus

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s Republican governor endorsed former president Donald Trump on Thursday, offering a major backing in a key swing state that Trump is looking to win handily in a caucus next month and will be competitive come the general election.

Former Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told The Nevada Independent on Thursday that he believed the economy and foreign affairs were more stable under Trump, and that for “all practical purposes … the race is over.”

Trump had endorsed Lombardo during the former sheriff’s 2022 run for governor, which helped him emerge from a crowded GOP field to win the primary. Lombardo tried to distance himself from the former president during a debate in the general election, before calling him the “the greatest president” during a rally the following week.

Lombardo had steadily rebuked Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 election.

Lombardo told The Nevada Independent that he will caucus for Trump on Feb. 8 and write-in “none of the above” in the presidential preference primary on Feb. 6.

Nevada has two nominating contests early next month — a primary that the state is required to run because of a 2021 law, and a caucus that the Nevada state GOP is holding two days later despite the primary. The Nevada GOP will only honor the winner of the caucus with delegates, and said that any candidates who sign up for the primary would be barred from the caucus.

Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opted for the caucus, while former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is the only active major candidate in the primary.

Lombardo had previously criticized the state Republican Party for the confusion that holding the caucus two days after the primary will cause.