Clinton And Sanders Close In Iowa; Ted Cruz Wins GOP Caucuses
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- The Democratic race is too close to call, running neck and neck in the race for delegates. "Tonight, while the results are still not known, it looks like we are in a virtual tie," Bernie Sanders proclaimed. Meanwhile, in her speech, Hillary Clinton tried to position herself as the victor: "I'm breathing a big sigh of relief," she said. And in a nudge to her rival, she proudly declared: "I am a progressive who gets things done." But the draw with Clinton is good news for the insurgent Sanders — especially heading into New Hampshire where he has been leading in the polls.
- Remember: Democratic vote totals are "state delegate equivalents" — an estimated number of delegates that will be sent to county and state conventions to formally select the delegates who will represent Iowa and the winning candidates at the national convention. Democrats do not immediately report the raw vote and never report what share of the raw vote each candidate won.
- Ted Cruz is projected to win the GOP Iowa caucuses. "Tonight is a victory for the grass roots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and the United States," Cruz declared.
- The conventional wisdom going into tonight was that big turnout would be good news for Donald Trump, but that didn't hold true. Cruz, who ran a traditional Iowa campaign, came out ahead. Cruz did well in northwest Iowa – where voters are more conservative and more religious.
- Trump responds: If you thought he would be angry after his loss, Trump put on a good poker face and a positive spin on their result. "We finished second, and I'm just honored. I want to congratulate Ted," Trump said Monday evening. "We're just so happy with the way everything worked out." Trump pledged to return to Iowa: "I might come here and buy a farm. I love it."
- And they're out: After poor finishes in Iowa tonight, both Mike Huckabee on the Republican side and Martin O'Malley on the Democratic side have dropped out of the race. The former Arkansas governor was the 2008 Iowa winner. Meanwhile, the former Maryland governor spent more time in Iowa than any other candidate, but he never seemed to catch on with voters as he competed with two high-profile candidates in Clinton and Sanders.
- The other big story of the night is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who came in third. Rubio gave an exuberant speech — sounding more like a victory speech. "I am grateful to you, Iowa. You believed in me when others didn't think this night would be possible," he said. It may not exactly be a win for Rubio, but it gives him big momentum going into New Hampshire and the rest of the race, and he did much better than he was projected to do.
- It's a record-breaking night for Republicans. More than 150,000 people have turned out in GOP caucuses across the state. That tops the prior record from four years ago, when over 121,500 people showed up. The turnout is on pace for about 170,000 according to the Des Moines Register.
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