After all the media hype, all that really matters is votes. And finally, the first votes have been cast.
Ted Cruz claimed victory at the Iowa caucuses with 28% of the vote, followed by Donald Trump with 24%. Marco Rubio was right on Trump’s heels with 23%.
These results surprised many, since Trump had been leading virtually every poll in the state for the past two weeks. Cruz and Rubio outperformed their national polling averages.
At this point in the campaign, nobody knows what is going to happen. It remains as unclear as ever who the Republican nominee is going to be.
The candidate who gained the most momentum was, without a doubt, Ted Cruz. However, the next primary state, New Hampshire, typically contains more center-leaning Republican voters, and this favors Trump and Rubio. This means that Rubio will also most likely benefit from his surge into a third place (nearly second place) finish in Iowa.
Cruz, who had invested an enormous amount of time and money into the state of Iowa, desperately needed to win in order to stop Trump’s momentum. He did this, and it will most likely put an end to Trump’s constant bragging about his poll numbers – unless, that is, Trump blows the competition away in New Hampshire.
Watch Ted Cruz’s victory speech:
For conservatives, this serves as a reminder that one does not have to compromise on principles in order to win an election. Cruz was the only leading candidate to come out against ethanol subsidies, which candidates have traditionally embraced, especially in the farming state of Iowa. The governor of Iowa, influenced by the ethanol lobby, denounced Cruz in the weeks leading up to the caucus. Political pundits predicted that this would hurt Cruz. Instead, it most likely helped him, showing him to be a principled man who is conservative to the core.
We now have the first picture of what the election is shaping out to be. It is still incredibly early; however, it does look very much like a three-man race at this point, since the fourth-place finisher, Ben Carson, only received 9% of the vote. Either Cruz, Trump, or Rubio could come out on top. This election is just getting started.