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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Pundits react to Iowa Republican caucuses, Trump win and race for second

Here is how political pundits reacted to the outcomes in Iowa.
Cody Blissett
An attendee watches Fox News’ coverage of the Iowa caucuses before a watch party for Nikki Haley at the Marriott on Jordan Creek Pkwy in West Des Moines on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.

Monday’s caucuses brought media attention from across the nation to Iowa. The caucus results served as a temperature check on Republican voter loyalty to former President Donald Trump as he faces mounting legal troubles while on the campaign trail. 

Despite several lawsuits and felony charges, Trump took first place in Iowa with 51 percent of the vote. Trump’s easy claim to victory in the first-in-the-nation state, plus the battle for second place between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, set the stage for the rest of the Republican nomination process. 

DeSantis ultimately won second place with 21.2 percent of the vote and Haley ended the night with 19.1 according to unofficial results by the Associated Press. 

The AP called the race for Trump shortly after 7 p.m., which led many political pundits to pose questions about the margin of Trump’s win, rather than the win itself.  

“Other candidates are saying what they would do, Trump can point to what he did do,” CNN journalist Dana Bash, reporting from Iowa, said. 

CNN commentators also criticized Trump’s opponents for not explicitly attacking his false claims of election fraud and legal charges against him. 

Despite an endorsement from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and heavy campaigning in the state, DeSantis’ second-place finish fell far behind the former President’s. 

“Ron DeSantis went to 99 counties — the full Grassley — and he lost in 99 counties,” Bret Baier, the host of “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, said. 

After earning 7.7 percent of the vote in Iowa, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out of the race on Monday night. DeSantis and Haley went on to deliver speeches celebrating second and third place, respectively. 

“There may be three tickets out of Iowa, but Donald Trump’s is first class, and Nikki Haley’s and Ron DeSantis’ is standard,” said broadcaster Chris Wallace for CNN. 

Trump delivered a celebratory speech that moderators noted as uncharacteristically diplomatic.  

News anchor Kaitlan Collins said Trump’s message about uniting liberals and conservatives was prompted by a victorious attitude. 

“He has not had a win like that in so long,” Collins said on CNN.


Political correspondent and anchor of “CNN NewsNight” Abby Phillip said Trump was telling Republicans to look past the charges against him. 

“He’s sending a signal to his party and he wants them to get on board,” Phillip said. 

A CNN entrance poll found that 66 percent of caucusgoers did not believe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. 

“This is the first time Trump supporters had a chance to stand with Donald Trump and that’s what they did in Iowa,” Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter of President George W. Bush, on Fox, said. 

As Republican nominee hopefuls look to New Hampshire, commentators say Haley will be the challenger to watch as she has invested heavily in New Hampshire. 

Jessica Tarlov, co-host of The Five on Fox News, said tomorrow Trump is “not going to New Hampshire, he’s going to New York to sit in a courtroom.”  

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About the Contributors
Natalie Dunlap
Natalie Dunlap, Assistant Digital Editor
Natalie Dunlap is the Assistant Digital Editor at The Daily Iowan. She is the host and producer of the Above the Fold news podcast. She has previously worked as a news reporter, news editor, politics reporter, politics editor, and digital producer for the DI. She is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in English and gender, women's, and sexuality studies. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting while listening to pop culture podcasts.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.