Sen. Ted Cruz beat billionaire Donald Trump to win Iowa’s Republican caucuses Monday night as Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton eked out a victory in a historically close race.
With just one precinct yet to declare, NBC News has declared Clinton the apparent winner based on a report from the Iowa Democratic Party showing her narrowly ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“Tonight we saw an historically close Iowa Democratic Caucus,” the party said in a statement shortly before 4 a.m. ET.
NBC News has allocated 21 of the 52 available national delegates to Clinton and 20 to Sanders as of 2:37 a.m. EST.
The Iowa Democratic Party said Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents while Sanders has been awarded 695.49.
Senator Hilary Clinton – Democrats Candidate
Despite polling that suggested that he was slipping behind Trump in Iowa, Cruz commanded the field Monday night.
The Texas senator garnered the support of 28 percent caucus goers, a significant win in a field of a dozen candidates splitting the vote. Trump finished a disappointing second place, four points behind Cruz.
Donald Trump – DUMPED
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had a surprisingly strong showing, coming in a close third place with 23 percent and performing better than polls had suggested.
The rest of the Republican field trailed further behind.
A total of thirty delegates are awarded in Iowa’s Republican race, a fraction of the amount necessary to clinch the nomination. NBC News is allocating Cruz eight, Rubio and Trump seven, former pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson three, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush one delegate each.
Trump, who spent a good chunk of his stump speech bragging about his dominance in the polls, conceded defeat in Iowa but sounded optimistic for what lies ahead.
“We finished second,” he said. “We’re leaving tonight and tomorrow afternoon we’ll be in New Hampshire and that will be something special. It’s going to be a great week…. I think we’re going to be proclaiming victory I hope.”
Cruz competed fiercely in the state, where a majority of caucus-goers identify as evangelical — a constituency that appreciated the Texan’s conservative social beliefs. It paid off. He showed significant support — 43 percent — among self-identified conservatives and evangelicals — 33 percent. More than one-third of caucus-goers who want a candidate who shares their values backed Cruz.
“Tonight is a victory for every American,” he said. “To the revolutionary understanding that all men and all women are created equal that our rights do not come from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party of even the Tea Party. Our rights come from our creator.”
Cruz’s organizational efforts also helped the candidate secure his victory. He won among voters who were contacted by a candidate.
Turnout for the Republican caucus surpassed previous records. At least 186,000 people caucused, far surpassing the 121,000 people who caucused four years ago. High turnout was supposed to help Trump who was attracting lower-propensity voters to his rallies.
Rubio, meanwhile, was thrilled at his performance, telling supporters Monday night. “When I am our nominee we are going to unify this party and … the conservative movement.”
He addressed detractors, saying, “They told us we got no chance because my hair wasn’t grey enough and that my boots were too high. They told me I had to wait my turn in line.”