The GOP primary season officially kicked off with frigid temperatures in the rowdy Iowa Caucus. Voters weren’t deterred by blistering cold, heading to the polls to support their candidates.
Early predictions showed former President Donald Trump would overwhelm GOP candidates in the state. Despite spending loads of campaign funds and traveling throughout the state, no GOP challenger made big gains against Trump.
The expectations were that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would finish second, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Businessman and upstart candidate Vivek Ramaswamy wasn’t expected to push ahead of the top tier candidates.
What played out hours after the Iowa caucuses closed was both expected and upsetting to some of the candidates. Trump topped the field, but second and third place finishers weren’t expected.
From Fox News:
“I am greatly honored by such an early call,” Trump said. “I feel really invigorated and strong for our country. We have to get our country back.”
Trump appeared on track to stay ahead of the GOP field through the primary election season. Early results showed after poles closed showed him at 51%, 30 percentage points ahead of the next candidate which is likely a record.
The result that shocked many expectations was DeSantis coming in second with 21%. He jumped into the spot over Haley who finished with 19%, according to early results with 90% of votes tallied. Ramaswamy garnered 8%.
Before the caucuses started, Haley was expected to finish second and well ahead of DeSantis. The flip in their finishes sent shockwaves through the GOP as early polling didn’t hold up at the ballot box. The final poll from Emerson College correctly did call the finishes for Trump and Ramaswamy.
The poll, from Emerson College, shows Trump at 55 percent, Haley at 21 percent, DeSantis at 15 percent, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 5 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at 2 percent.
DeSantis outperformed expectations in Iowa while Haley fell unexpectedly below expectations. Questions remain for DeSantis who predicted he would win Iowa and Haley who didn’t perform even after an onrush of national media attention ahead of the caucuses.
DeSantis was being pressured to drop out ahead of the Iowa decision. He now has more fuel in his campaign than before and likely won’t back out.
Haley was essentially upset in the caucuses by DeSantis, and many will likely begin questioning her path forward. She didn’t finish anywhere close to challenging Trump and dropped behind the person she was expected to beat.
Trump’s Iowa caucus triumph will likely be a record for GOP candidates. No Republican has ever won the primary event by more than 12 points. The result, no matter the ending tally, is a huge win for the 45th president.
Soon after Trump made a speech following the Iowa caucus results, Ramaswamy publicly announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign. He then endorsed Trump going forward.
- Trump rocked the Iowa caucuses with a commanding win against the field.
- DeSantis surged to finish second while Haley fell short of expectations.
- Trump was “invigorated” and said it is time to take the country back.