Cruz and Clinton Win Iowa, Next up is New Hampshire Republicans in Three-way Contest
A victorious Ted Cruz and buoyant Marco Rubio emerged from Iowa with compelling claims to the outsider and mainstream mantles in the fractured Republican primary, as the presidential race shifted overnight to New Hampshire. Democrats were girding for a protracted slugfest between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, locked in a virtual tie. Donald Trump, uncharacteristically humble after a second-place Iowa finish, was headed for far friendlier territory in New Hampshire, where the billionaire firebrand had a commanding lead.
Amid historically large turnout in Iowa, the unexpected benefactor was Rubio, who came within striking distance of Trump. Republicans had already been looking to New Hampshire to winnow their congested field, and the Florida senator’s strong showing bolsters his case that Republicans should coalesce behind him as the mainstream alternative to the rowdier Trump or Texas Sen. Cruz.
“We have taken the first step, but an important step, to winning the nomination,” Rubio told supporters in Des Moines.
Monday’s Democratic contest was a cliff hanger. “The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history,” said state party chairman Andy McGuire—a far cry from the coronation for Clinton, former U.S. secretary of State, that most Democrats once expected.
Even with an elaborate campaign operation and backing from most Democratic Party leaders, Clinton was unable to stem a flood of enthusiasm from young and liberal voters for Sanders, the eccentric Vermont senator whose viability in a general election is still deeply questioned.
Although Clinton said she was “breathing a big sigh of relief,” and her campaign said it had won an outright victory, the neck-and-neck contest was a blow, evoking the setback she faced in 2008 after her upset loss to then-Sen. Barack Obama. Given the closeness of the Democratic caucuses, the AP did not declare a winner.
As the GOP winner in Iowa, Cruz collected at least eight of the state’s 30 Republican delegates, with Trump winning seven and Rubio six. Democrats apportion their delegates differently, and even with no declared winner, the AP awarded Clinton 22 delegates and Sanders 21. The statewide winner will collect the final delegate.
McClintock: Clinton needs to make adjustments
“I think Hillary Clinton has begun with her left foot and has to do significant adjustments to her campaign in order to prevail,” said Kenneth McClintock, committeeman of the Democratic Party in Puerto Rico and former president of the Puerto Rico Senate.
The chairwoman of the Republican Party in Puerto Rico, Rep. Jenniffer González said, “the result of the Republican caucuses in Iowa put an end to what I have termed “the dictatorship of the analysts and the polls” because now we have the start of the best poll possible: the votes of Republican voters.”
Monday’s results, besides starting to set possible trends in the presidential primaries in Iowa, can also help boost a candidate’s momentum as other states start holding their own primaries in the run up to the November elections, with everyone’s eyes on the grand prize: the White House. Next up will be the New Hampshire primaries on Feb. 9, followed by Nevada on Feb. 20.
Previous polls showed a tight Democratic race
According to the last Iowa polls conducted before the caucus, Clinton was in a tight race with Sanders in the Democratic primaries, which has three candidates. Clinton was ahead 45% compared with 42% for Sanders, as reported by Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll.
Meanwhile, among the far bigger field of 11 Republican presidential contenders, Trump was leading the pack with 28%, followed by 23% for Cruz and 15% for Rubio, according to the same Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll.
With the support that has been generated throughout the process, candidates Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and former First Lady Clinton—members of two famous families comprising the country’s political elite—and others with deep ties to the Democratic and Republican parties have found themselves unexpectedly challenged by a billionaire businessman-turned-TV star (Trump), a young senator with the support of many Republican leaders (Cruz), and an outspoken social democrat along European lines (Sanders).
Among the biggest issues in the presidential race include immigration, gun control, climate change, the Syrian refugee crisis, healthcare, taxes and of course, the economy.
At stake in the New Hampshire primaries were 23 delegates for the Republican Party and 32 delegates for the Democratic Party.
The Republican National Convention will be held July 18-21 in Cleveland, while the Democratic National Convention will take place July 25-28 in Philadelphia.
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