Grandpa Munster takes Iowa!
If you missed out on all of the happenings from the Iowa caucus last night — or if you are still buried in a snow cave somewhere — Colorado Pols has you covered. Here’s a quick recap of what happened at the Iowa caucuses, and what happened next…
But first, kudos to Pols reader “flatiron” for winning our Iowa Caucus Prediction Contest. We’ll do it again when New Hampshire votes on Tuesday.
♦ Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the big winner last night in the Iowa caucuses, finishing first in a crowded Republican field — just as many observers had been predicting for weeks. Cruz had seemed to be losing momentum in the last few days, particularly after a brutal performance in last Thursday’s GOP debate, and he trailed Donald Trump in the final Des Moines Register poll released Monday morning. But Cruz’s well-regarded ground game brought home an important victory. Here’s the top five for the GOP:
- Ted Cruz: 27.65%
- Donald Trump: 24.31%
- Marco Rubio: 23.1%
- Ben Carson: 9.31%
- Rand Paul: 4.54%
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore finished last, with 12 votes. Not 12% — 12 total. Still, that’s seven more votes than Tom Tancredo received when he ran for President in 2008.
While Iowa was certainly a big victory for Cruz, recent history hasn’t been kind to the top GOP finishers in the first voting state. George W. Bush was the last Republican to win in Iowa and go on to capture the Presidency. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, won the last two Iowa caucuses.
I’m going to need a new pair of pants.
♦ The Republican field may finally start to shrink down after Iowa. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race altogether after the results were posted; Huckabee had said for weeks that he would withdraw if he didn’t finish in the Top 3 (he limped home at #9, with 1.79% of the vote). Former Sen. Rick Santorum’s campaign would need an infusion of cash just to be running on fumes, and after failing to capture even 1% in Iowa, his end is near.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished fourth last night, but percentage-wise, he was nowhere near third-place finisher Marco Rubio. Carson did have the most memorable moment of the evening, however. Carson didn’t even stay around long enough for the results to be posted in Iowa. His campaign announced last night that Carson would be going home to Florida to rest and “get a fresh set of clothes,” rather than traveling immediately to New Hampshire in advance of voting next Tuesday (Feb. 9). Perhaps Carson isn’t yet prepared to throw in the towel completely, but leaving the campaign trail to do laundry will probably become a new euphemism in American politics.
As coaches love to say, “a win is a win.”
♦ For the Democrats, Iowa was too close to call for much of the night. In the final tally, Hillary Clinton “won” Iowa by the slimmest of margins. Somewhere in Iowa, there are a couple of Bernie Sanders supporters who are kicking themselves for not showing up at their caucus site:
- Hillary Clinton: 49.82%
- Bernie Sanders: 49.61%
- Martin O’Malley: 0.57%
O’Malley, the former Maryland Governor, announced last night that he would be “suspending” his campaign. O’Malley wasn’t a factor in Iowa, where some observers thought he might generate just enough support that he could tip the scales to Clinton or Sanders with his endorsement. The Democrats, then, are down to their final two candidates for their party’s nomination.