DES MOINES, IA – Candidates from each party reacted to Ted Cruz’s GOP victory in the Iowa caucuses and the virtual dead heat between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side.
Ted Cruz turned the Republican primary race on its head Monday night, scoring an unexpected victory over the real estate billionaire Donald Trump.
“Tonight is a victory for the grass-roots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and across this great nation. Tonight the state of Iowa has spoken,” Cruz declared to applause from a jubilant audience.
Cruz, with his wife Heidi nearby, continued, “Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee of the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment, will not be chosen by the lobbyists but will be chosen by the most incredible powerful force, where all sovereignty resides in our nation, by we the people, the American people.”
He then lit into President Barack Obama, claiming that he’d “set an agenda that is causing millions to hurt”
and that Iowa “has proclaimed to the world, morning is coming.”
His jabs, however, didn’t stop him from borrowing Obama’s signature phrase, one chanted after his own insurgent win in Iowa in 2008, which set him on a course to win the Democratic nomination.
On Monday night in Iowa, the Texan senator told the crowd, “Courageous conservatives said, ‘Yes we can!”’
Tonight, Donald Trump is something he has long accused many others of being: a loser.
But he accepted defeat in Iowa graciously, congratulating winner Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and repeatedly thanking Hawkeye State voters — even saying he planned to return to “buy a farm.”
“We finished second and I want to tell you something, I’m honored. I’m just really honored,” said Trump, who had led in the most recent polling.
In his unusually brief remarks, the billionaire real estate developer bragged about finishing ahead of where his early critics predicted, and he promised to soldier on to New Hampshire and “go on to beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell (the Democrats) throw up there.”
Marco Rubio on Tuesday night thanked Iowa for helping him exceed expectations in the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses with a projected strong third-place showing.
“This is the moment they said would never happen,” Rubio told supporters, with his wife and four children by his side. “For months they told us we had no chance.”
The Florida senator listed a slew of reasons why he had been written off, from offering “too much optimism in a time of anger” to lacking the right endorsements and political connections.
And, in a nod to the attention his fashion choices have attracted, he continued, “They told me that we have no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high .”
He also promised to be the Republican candidate who can heal the divisions in the party.
“I will be our nominee because of what you have done here in this great state,” he continued, pledging to “unify this party and the conservative movement.”
As he spoke, the Florida senator was running a close third, just behind Donald Trump in second place. Ted Cruz won the first-in-the-nation voting state.
Cruz’s victory and Rubio’s good showing — outperforming the most recent polling — shifts the dynamic of the GOP race, which has for months been defined by Trump’s apparent dominance and the inability of one of the moderate candidates to emerge from an overcrowded field.
“Privately, he wasn’t expecting to win Iowa,” Iowa State Sen. Brad Zaun, one of the Trump campaign’s top backers in Iowa, told CNN as the results came in.
Two Trump backers said Rubio’s Iowa surge would likely create new difficulties for the real estate mogul in New Hampshire, where he has led by a wide margin in the latest polling.
Rubio is now going to be a player in New Hampshire, they said, while Trump is going to have to fend him off.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is projected to finished a distant fifth, gave no sign that he had any plans to leave the fight.
“We are not trading our liberty for anything. Not now, not never. Hell no,” Paul told supporters.
“Against all odds, tonight, liberty beat four sitting governors from the established government,” Paul said of his campaign and fellow competitors who trailed even further behind him in the caucuses.
Eight years after being upstaged in Iowa by Barack Obama, Monday night brought more disappointing results for Hillary Clinton, who leaves Iowa in a virtual deadlock with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders after the first nominating contest of 2016.
“I am a progressive who gets things done for people,” Clinton declared to supporters in Des Moines, saying she was “excited about really getting into the debate with Sen. Sanders about the best way forward to fight for us and America.”
The former secretary of state, whose once formidable lead over Sanders evaporated over months of campaigning, promised to “finish the job of universal health care coverage for every man, woman and child.”
And after pledging to sustain the Democratic vision in the face of Republican opposition, she concluded, “I stand here tonight, breathing a big sigh of relief . Thank you, Iowa. … I will keep doing what I have done my entire life.”
With 95% of precincts reporting, Clinton and Sanders both finished with nearly 50% of the vote. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who couldn’t crack 1%, announced earlier in the night that he was suspending his campaign.
Bernie Sanders earned a hard-fought draw in the Iowa caucuses Monday night, dealing Hillary Clinton a setback as the race turns to New Hampshire even if she is ultimately declared the victor.
“Given the enormous crisis facing our country,” Sanders said in a jab at the former secretary of state, “it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”
The Vermont senator described the murky final score as a “virtual tie,” but his supporters treated it like a victory, interrupting his remarks to chant, “Feel the Bern!’
“As I think about what happened tonight, I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment,” he continued, thanking Iowa for starting a “political revolution.”
“So you guys ready for a radical idea?” Sanders asked with a smile. “So is America. We are going to create an economy that works for working families, not just the billionaire class.”
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