DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a fiery conservative loathed by his own party’s leaders, swept to victory in Iowa’s Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and a stronger-than-expected showing by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Bernie Sanders rode a wave of voter enthusiasm to a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton, long considered her party’s front-runner.
Cruz’s victory over Trump was a testament to his massive get-out-the-vote operation in Iowa and the months he spent wooing the state’s influential conservative and evangelical leaders.
“Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment,” Cruz said.
His comments were echoed by Sanders, underscoring the degree to which voter frustration with the political system has crossed party lines in the 2016 campaign.
“It is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics,” said Sanders, who declared the Democratic race a “virtual tie.”
Clinton took the stage at her own campaign rally saying she was “breathing a big sigh of relief” but with the Democratic race too close to call. Aware that even a slim victory over Sanders would reinvigorate questions about her candidacy, she foresaw a long race to come.
“It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now, to have a real contest of ideas, to really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like,” Clinton said.
President Democrats – 99 percent reporting
- Hillary Clinton, 691 – 50 percent
- Bernie Sanders, 688 – 50 percent
- Martin O’Malley, 7 – 1 percent
- Uncommitted, 1 – 0 percent
President GOP – 99 percent reporting
- Ted Cruz, 43,550 – 28 percent (PROJECTED WINNER)
- Donald Trump, 38,358 – 24 percent
- Marco Rubio, 36,065 – 23 percent
- Ben Carson, 14,609 – 9 percent
- Rand Paul, 7,103 – 5 percent
- Jeb Bush, 4,409 – 3 percent
- John Kasich, 2,970 – 2 percent
- Carly Fiorina, 2,867 – 2 percent
- Mike Huckabee, 2,758 – 2 percent
- Chris Christie, 2,731 – 2 percent
- Rick Santorum, 1,542 – 1 percent
The caucuses marked the end of at least two candidates’ White House hopes. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley ended his longshot bid for the Democratic nomination. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out on the Republican side.
Republicans John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush were all spending Monday night in New Hampshire — not only to get a jump on the snow moving into Iowa but also to get ahead of their competitors in a state with voters who are expected to be friendlier to more traditional GOP candidates.
While both parties caucused on the same night in Iowa, they did so with different rules.
Republicans voted by private ballot. The state’s 30 Republican delegates are awarded proportionally based on the vote, with at least eight delegates going to Cruz, seven to Trump and six to Rubio.
Democrats form groups at caucus sites, publicly declaring their support for a candidate. The final numbers are awarded proportionately, based on statewide and congressional district voting, determining Iowa’s 44 delegates to the national convention.
Even without a declared winner, The Associated Press awarded all but one of those delegates. Clinton led Sanders 22 to 21, with the remaining delegate to be awarded to the statewide winner.