Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the man who put it all on the line in the Hawkeye State, has won the 2016 Iowa Republican caucus with 99% of precincts reporting. Donald Trump came in second place followed closely by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson. Cruz led the pack with 28% support from caucus-goers, with Trump at 25% and Rubio a surprising 24%.
Turnout on the Republican side blew past the prior 122,000-plus record set in 2012, with officials estimating turnout could hit upwards of 180,000.
Cruz, in large part due to his superior organization, outperformed his polling support statewide by at least 6 points, while Trump underperformed by 4.2 points. Rubio over-performed by 6.1 points. Cruz allies have been pounding Trump in the more conservative state of Iowa, seeing it as their best chance to stop the man who has been leading in the polls for months.
“Congratulations to Ted Cruz for winning the Iowa GOP Caucus, and to Marco Rubio for a great finish,” said Club for Growth president David McIntosh, a Cruz ally. “Republican voters want a consistent, pro-growth, small-government economic conservative to be president, not a phony liberal. Pro-growth candidates won a clear majority from GOP caucus goers, while Donald Trump badly underperformed and lost. Republican voters will continue to bail on Trump as they learn the truth about his long-held far-left positions on taxes, health care, bailouts, and eminent domain.”
In the end, it was Cruz’s organization that carried the day and the caucus. Last week, he completed the “Full Grassley,” a reference to the state’s favorite senator, Chuck Grassley, who makes an annual trip to all 99 counties. On Monday, Cruz’s team deployed some 12,000 volunteers, with precinct captains in roughly 90 percent of Iowa’s 1,681 precincts and county chairs and supportive pastors across the state.
And it worked. Cruz has set a record for the most Iowa Republican caucus votes out of any candidate.
“Sen. Ted Cruz put together and ran one of the finest grassroots, ground game campaigns I’ve ever witnessed,” said Richard Baris, PPD’s senior political analyst. “Cruz drove turnout in counties he needed to drive it up in and kept the margins very close in counties he was never expected to. It was an extremely impressive performance.”
Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucus, announced shortly after the results that he is suspending his campaign.
I am officially suspending my campaign. Thank you for all your loyal support. #ImWithHucK
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) February 2, 2016
Now, Cruz and the rest of the GOP field head to New Hampshire, the first in the nation primary where Trump has held a substantial lead, The Granite State is far more friendly territory to the New York businessman and far less friendly to the Texas victor. Trump leads in New Hampshire by over 21 points on the PPD average of New Hampshire Republican primary polls, though Rubio will hope to capitalize on his better-than-expected showing.