Cruz snags victory in Iowa caucuses

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WEST DES MOINES — A unique self-funded presidential campaign based on outspoken principles and heavy media coverage was not enough to crown Donald Trump the winner of the 2016 Republican caucuses Monday, despite a deeply entrenched antiestablishment political movement.

With 99 percent of the state’s precinct caucuses reporting, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, eclipsed Trump by 27.7 percent to 24.3 percent, according to preliminary numbers by the Iowa Republican Party.

Within minutes of learning of the narrow victory, Cruz charted a plane from the Eastern Iowa Airport to the Des Moines International Airport.

“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,” Cruz told his supporters at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, the site of his caucus-victory party.

By the numbers

The official numbers: 51,649 for Cruz, 45,416 for Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., placed third, trailing Trump by 1.2 percentage points. Rubio garnered 43,132 votes or 23.1 percent of support among Iowa Republican caucus-attendees.

Within minutes of learning that the New York business mogul was not able to snare the win and that Cruz would win, hundreds of Trump supporters booed from the West Des Moines Sheraton, where Trump delivered a brief five-minute address shortly after 10 p.m.

“Thank you very much, I love you people, I love you people,” Trump told the crowd of several hundred inside a ballroom.

Trump declared that he will go on to win New Hampshire, “no matter who the Democrats throw at me.”

 

Explaining that he has many friends in the Hawkeye State, Trump wrapped up his second-place finish speech with: “We will be back here many, many times; in fact, I might come back here and buy a farm.”

Cruz’s Iowa strategy

Recently, Trump drew close to 2,000 people to the Field House. He has also flown his custom-built helicopter to the fried-food and agriculture-rich Iowa State Fair.

Cruz hit Iowa roadways hard over the past six months, campaigning in rural, urban, heavily Republican, and heavily Democratic communities. He clocked close to 150 events over nearly 60 days, according to DI records.

Cruz, 45, established an intense ground game, complete with traditional retail politicking at small-town coffee shops, libraries, college campuses, and churches.

Since joining the Senate in 2013, Cruz has worked to build a national political brand as an anti-Washington and big-government fighter.

Razor-thin third-place for Rubio

Rubio, 44, the youngest candidate in his party, was optimistic during his address. Rather than attack those in the GOP, he took aim at the two-term Obama administration.

Rubio was the first candidate to appear before TV cameras and reporters to comment on the night’s turnout.

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