Cruz Wins Republican Caucuses in Iowa

Texas Senator Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, an upset that punctured a hole in the ‘inevitability’ of reality tv star Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.

Despite being ahead of all his rivals by a significant margin in every poll leading up the Monday, February 1 vote, Cruz wound up beating Trump, 28 – 23-percent.

Equally stunning, and perhaps more concerning for the Trump campaign,Marco Rubio came in a very close third. The freshman Senator from Florida nearly beat Trump with 22-percent of the vote.

Trump had problems courting Christian-conservatives, a large demographic in Iowa, throughout the campaign. His attempts to cite the Bible as “the only book better than his own [The Art of the Deal]” and incorrectly citing the New Testament’s Second Book of Corinthians as “Two Corinthians” came off has hackneyed and pandering, falling flat on Evangelical listeners.

Trump campaigning with his family Bible.

Trump campaigning with his family Bible.

Cruz, the son of an Evangelical preacher with a long track record of Christian-conservative values, meanwhile was welcomed heartily by Iowa voters.

Trump attempted to woo Christian-conservatives with very public endorsements by Sarah Palin, and appearing at a “support the troops” fundraiser with the last two winners of the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. He also vowed that, if he were elected president, he would move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Turnout for the vote was a record 185,000, according to tracking firm Edison Research. An estimated 46-percent were first-time voters; both results were expected to favor Trump.

However, nearly two-thirds of caucus voters were evangelical, and Cruz won nearly a third of that vote.

While the New York Times blamed “a rudimentary political organization” for not turning populist support and nearly 24-7 media coverage into votes for Trump, some of his supporters turned conspiratorial. The Blaze reports that the theory centered around a new Microsoft app used to tally caucus votes. The program was rigged to give Rubio more votes, according to theorists, because Microsoft is against Trump’s plan to severely limit H1B visa immigration into America. Rubio is in favor of expanding the H1B visa campaign.

Another problem came on election night. CNN reported that Dr. Ben Carson was leaving Iowa on caucus night and heading home to Florida for several days.

“This is very unusual,” Jake Tapper said about the news. “If you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida,” added Dana Bash.

Once the news broke, Rep. Steve King, the Cruz campaign’s national co-chair, tweeted that Dr. Carson would stop campaigning after Iowa, and encouraged his supporters to vote for Cruz.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson makes a face during a speech at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) convention in Las Vegas, Nevada June 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Steve Marcus - RTX1GZ5C

Ben Carson

A day after his caucus win, Cruz issued a public apology to Dr. Carson, calling the tweet a “mistake.” Dr. Carson accepted the apology but left open the possibility that the incident pointed to a deeper problem within the “culture” of the Cruz campaign.

Rubio, who started campaigning late in the process, found support among voters who put the economy as their top priority. The candidate also found support among a large section of Christian-conservative voters.

Rubio’s other places of support were among college graduates, who favored him over the other candidates. About 1 in 5 voters who said a candidate’s ability to win in November was the quality that mattered most, backed him.

Portraying his very-strong third-place showing in the best light, Rubio continued on his campaign theme that he is the only candidate who beat either Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

“When I’m the nominee, we are going to unify our party and we are going to unify the conservative movement,” he told hundreds of supporters in Des Moines.

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