Trump Wins Iowa Caucuses
DES MOINES, IOWA - JANUARY 15: Former President Donald Trump speaks at his caucus night event at the Iowa Events Center on January 15, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowans voted today in the state’s caucuses for the first contest in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating process. Trump has been projected winner of the Iowa caucus.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump has won the Iowa Caucuses.

Trump led the field, sitting at 51%, with around 90% of the vote counted Monday night, according to Decision Desk HQ. DeSantis was sitting in second with 21.3%, and Haley was in third with 19%. Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was in fourth at 7.7%.

The race was called with an unusually low percentage of the vote counted, as multiple outlets — including Fox News, CNN, NBC News, and the Associated Press — all called the race for Trump with just 1% of the vote counted.

With that 1% of the vote in, Trump stood at 53.6%, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was in second place at 20.8%, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was in third at 17.6%, according to Decision Desk HQ. Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was in fourth at 6.6%.

In a speech following the caucuses, Trump congratulated his GOP opponents, saying they all did “very well.”

“I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for a good time together. … I think they both actually did very well. I really do,” Trump said.

“I also want to congratulate Vivek because he did a hell of a job,” Trump added. “He came from zero … and he got probably 8%.”

The media outlets that called the race before many Iowans had even voted were slammed by reporters and commentators.

“It’s indefensible to declare a winner in that situation before all votes are cast,” said National Review Senior Writer Dan McLaughlin.

Semafor political reporter David Weigel wrote: “The very very early results show Trump winning big, but the early network call is a little questionable. People are still at caucus sites, and they have phones — how many people see the call and bail?”

Washington Post reporter Michael Scherer noted: “AP has a policy not to call ‘the winner of a race before all the polls in a jurisdiction are scheduled to close.’ Tonight AP/CNN/Etc. called the race after the caucus doors closed, but BEFORE all votes were cast. People could see on their phones that Trump won before voting.”

Voters braved below-zero temperatures on Monday night, making it the coldest Iowa Caucuses since its beginning in 1972. Projections showed that around 120,000 voters went out to caucus, far lower than the record 187,000 voters that came out to vote in the 2016 caucuses. Heading into the day, many anticipated weather-suppressed turnout that would likely end up favoring the candidate with the most enthusiastic support, assumed to be the polling frontrunner, Trump. In fact several candidates warned against reading too much into the outcome as result of the conditions. 

Trump dominated the early polling leading up to the Iowa Caucuses, consistently leading his GOP opponents by more than 30 points. Haley recently took a small lead over DeSantis in a few polls in Iowa, but the two candidates remained neck-and-neck through Monday, tying in many of the final surveys.

The DeSantis campaign placed a strong emphasis on Iowa and its large Evangelical base that the Florida governor is hoping to court. DeSantis earned the endorsements of Bob Vander Plaats, an influential Evangelical leader in the state, and Iowa’s popular Republican Governor Kim Reynolds. Both endorsements were seen as big wins for a DeSantis campaign in need of a boost. The governor’s ground game was extensive, and DeSantis completed the “Full Grassley” in December, a tour named after Iowa GOP Senator Chuck Grassley who visits each of the state’s 99 counties each year. 

Haley, who wasn’t initially expected to perform well in the state, jumped in the polls in the past few months, her appeal to independents and even some Democrats cited by some analysts as part of the reason she was gaining momentum in Iowa in particular. The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under Trump is looking to make her case that she stands as the top Republican alternative to Trump and has frequently sparred with the other contenders over her more centrist policy positions.

Ramaswamy was hoping to surprise the political world with a solid performance in Iowa despite consistently polling in the single digits in the state. Ramaswamy campaigned aggressively in the Hawkeye State leading up to the caucuses, completing the “Full Grassley” twice, according to his campaign. 

Meanwhile, numerous sitting U.S. congressmen and senators have publicly backed Trump in recent weeks, solidifying the former president’s standing as the frontrunner in the Republican primary. Citing his strong poll numbers, Trump skipped each of the first five Republican primary debates, including the debate last week in Des Moines, Iowa, where DeSantis and Haley took the stage. 

The DeSantis and Haley campaigns, along with outside groups aligned with them, have spent far more than the other candidates on ads in Iowa. Around $37 has been spent on pro-Haley ads in the state through January 12 compared to $35 million on pro-DeSantis ads and $18.3 million on pro-Trump ads. 

Multiple Republican candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Governor Tim Scott, have dropped out of the race with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ending his campaign just last week, a move projected to provide a slight boost to Haley’s campaign. 

Forty delegates were up for grabs in Iowa on Monday night and will be allocated proportionally to candidates based on their performance in the caucuses. To win the GOP nomination, a Republican candidate must reach at least 1,215 delegates of the estimated 2,429 delegates obtainable in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. 

While a win in Iowa offers candidates some early momentum, Republicans who won the Iowa Caucuses in recent competitive races didn’t fare well in the remaining GOP primary. In 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won in the caucuses, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) won in 2012, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the state in 2008, but all three of those candidates went on to lose the Republican primary.

Next week, candidates are slated to face off at the polls again — this time in New Hampshire for the first-in-the-nation primary. 

This article will be updated as additional results come in. 

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