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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What happened in Iowa: Cruz bested Trump and the Democrats are locked in a dead heat

Last night’s Iowa Caucus resulted in a race so narrow that results on the Democratic side could not be announced until Tuesday morning with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Hillary Clinton slid into first by only 0.3 percent at 49.9 percent.

Gov. Martin O’Malley chose to end his presidential bid after receiving only 1 percent of the vote in Iowa.

The viability rule existent in Democratic caucuses says that at least 15 percent of people in attendance at a caucus must support a candidate. If less than 15 percent support a candidate, those people must join a preference group for a different candidate or wait to see if others will defect from their original groups. It turns out that most O’Malley supporters chose to regroup.

This leaves the Democratic race to just two candidates with very different ideals and what is shaping up to be a close race.

Clinton told Iowans that the race offered a “rare” chance “to have a real contest of ideas.” She went to proclaim that she is “a progressive who gets things done” in her victory speech that came before finals results were in. She told Iowans she was breathing a big sigh of relief.

Sen. Bernie Sanders waited longer than Clinton before coming out to speak to his supporters in Iowa, watching the incoming results closely. He, too, gave a victor-like speech as he spoke about the immense progress his team has made to get him to a virtual tie with Clinton. Nine months ago, “we had no money, no name recognition, and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America,” Sanders said Monday night.

Republicans had a close race too, but officials were able to call the race within 90 minutes of the start of the caucus.

Three GOP candidates pulled away from the pack with Ted Cruz in the lead at 28 percent, Donald Trump in a close second at 24 percent and Marco Rubio at 23 percent.

Dr. Ben Carson came in a distant fourth at 9 percent, while the other candidates trailed even further behind. Rand Paul came in at 4 percent, Jeb Bush at 3 percent, and Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie all garnered only 2 percent of Iowan’s votes. The only GOP candidate to drop out of the race following the Iowa caucus was Huckabee via Twitter.

Iowa’s process for selecting its final delegates for both parties is far from over, but the caucus results in Iowa have already shifted the momentum in the 2016 race for the White House.

Cruz heads gleefully to New Hampshire, preaching the power of grassroots campaign tactics. The Texas senator made it a point to visit every one of the 99 counties in Iowa this election season, completing what is known as a “full Grassley,” named after Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley who makes the journey annually.

Trump’s momentum has been stifled and he can no longer proclaim his total dominance over the GOP field. Trump’s speech after the caucus found him congratulating his contenders and calling second place an “honor,” even as this @realDonaldTrump tweet from 2014 was being retweeted:

“‘No one remembers who came in second.’ – Walter Hagen.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was ecstatic about the results and gave what amounted to a victory speech in Des Moines following the caucus. Rubio performed better than any polls predicted and positioned himself only 1 percent behind Trump in Iowa. “I will be our nominee thanks to what you have done here in this great state,” the senator said.

A win in Iowa has not been crucial for Republican nominees or presidential candidates in the recent past. Since 1976 only one Republican, George W. Bush, has won Iowa and gone on to become president.

In 2012, Mitt Romney came in second in Iowa before becoming the nominee and in 2008 John McCain came in fourth before managing to clinch the Republican nomination.

For the other side of the aisle, Iowa has recently been a good indication for the candidate. With the exception being Bill Clinton running unopposed in 1996, the winning candidate from Iowa has gone on to be the Democratic nominee. Though, it is worth noting that Clinton’s 0.3 percent lead over Sanders is far and away the smallest winning spread in that time period.

New Hampshire on the other hand could be considered a critical win for the future Republican nominee. In 2008 and 2012, McCain and Romney won respectively.

The New Hampshire primary is critical for candidates of both parties. Consider that only one person in the last 40 years—in either party—has lost both New Hampshire and Iowa and gone on to win the presidency. That person being “Comeback Kid” Bill Clinton in 1992.

The New Hampshire primary will be held on Tuesday Feb. 9.

Follow Michelle Jaquette on Twitter.

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