The results are in: Sen. Ted Cruz has emerged the victorious leader in the 2016 Republican Iowa Caucus.
In his victory speech Monday evening, Cruz declared, “God bless the great state of Iowa! Let me first of all say: To God be the glory. Tonight, is a victory for the grassroots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation. Tonight, the state of Iowa has spoken. Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media. Will not be chosen by the Washington establishment. Will not be chosen by the lobbyists. But will be chosen by the most incredible, powerful force, where all sovereignty resides in our nation – by We the People, the American people.”
The Republican race for the party’s presidential nomination was thrown into a tailspin a few months back when billionaire Donald Trump announced his entry. Since then, Trump held a commanding lead in almost every poll.
But on Monday night, voters in Iowa caucused to deliver not a poll, but the first actual response from voters as to whether they want to move with Trump, follow a Senate insider like Marco Rubio, a Senate rebel like Ted Cruz, surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Rand Paul or someone else.
Pulling down fractional portions of the support on most polls have been Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Carly Fiorino and Chris Christie.
With 99 percent reporting, results Monday evening showed the following:
Cruz: 27.7 percent
Trump: 24.3 percent
Rubio: 23.1 percent
Carson: 9.3 percent
Paul: 4.5 percent
Bush: 2.8 percent
Fiorina, Christie, Huckabee, Santorum and Kasich each received less than 2 percent.
On Fox News, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “I can make it a lot more complicated. For every 3.33 votes, each Republican will get one delegate out of Iowa. There’s gonna be a few tickets out of Iowa. The enthusiasm is off the charts.”
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After the results were in, Trump thanked Iowans for their support and congratulated Cruz, calling the Texas senator his friend.
“I’m really honored,” he said. “I want to congratulate Ted, and I want to congratulate all of the incredible candidates – including Mike Huckabee, who has become a really good friend of mine. So congratulations to everybody.”
Trump told his supporters, “We will go on to get the Republican nomination, and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there.”
He promised to return to Iowa”many, many times.”
“I think I might come back here and buy a farm,” he told cheering Iowans.
Rubio told his supporters: “So this is the moment they said would never happen. For months, for months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us because we offer too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance. For months they told us because we didn’t have the right endorsements or the right political connections, we had no chance. They told me that we have no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high. They told me I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line. But tonight, tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message. After seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back.”
The Iowa GOP polls have participants declare their preference for a candidate by the simple method of a show of hands or by writing out a ballot. The GOP events are in the process of selecting delegates to the national convention, at which the party nominee formally will be named.
USNews noted that the state has about 1 percent of the nation’s voters, “so it doesn’t have many votes in the Electoral College that will eventually elect a president from the parties’ nominees.”
“But, the state can mean everything because of the simple fact that its contest comes first. While a candidate doesn’t need to win Iowa to win its party’s nomination, results in Iowa are followed closely by the media and are an early signal of how the country as a whole will respond to the candidates. It also sets the stage for the first primary, eight days later, in New Hampshire. In politics, momentum is king. If a candidate doesn’t place highly in the early states, support and dollars typically begin to dry up, which means that Iowa often is successful at winnowing the field. In a race with many candidates, like the 2016 contest for the Republicans, how a politician fares in Iowa can determine whether he or she will remain on the ballots for the rest of the U.S.”
Iowa GOP picks have not always selected the eventual nominee. In 2012, Santorum was tied with the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney.
In 2008, Mike Huckabee was the choice, in 1988 Iowa selected Robert Dole over George H.W. Bush and in 1980 picked Pat Robertson over Ronald Reagan.
Tom Davis, a former congressman from Virginia who previously headed the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in the Wall Street Journal if Trump were to fail in Iowa, “The mystique around him could fade – opening up opportunities for other candidates and jeopardizing his position in New Hampshire, where he had led for weeks.”
The fight has been filled with the typical rhetoric of candidates accusing each other of flip-flopping on issues, but Trump’s presence has brought to the headlines some of his constitutional concerns – he wants to stop illegal aliens from entering the U.S. and says he’s prepared to take drastic steps to halt that flow. He also wants to examine those members of a group from which many terrorists emerge before they come into the United States.
Trump has emphasized his status as a Washington and government outsider, and his presence also has led all other candidates to discussions on which conservatives have worries, such as freedom of religion, speech and more.
Cruz, while he is a senator, has emphasized his conflict with the Washington establishment, and, in fact, the establishments, opposition to his candidacy.
Trump, according to Oregon Live, has been “the frontrunner in Republican preference polls for months, but broader-based national polls suggest he has various hurdles to overcome.”
One concern, the outlet said, is that he doesn’t appeal to women.
His “bluster,” the report said, “isn’t likely to win over women or independents, the voters who ultimately will decide the election in November.”
Cruz has been the closest to Trump for weeks, and Rubio is bringing up the next spot.