In the Iowa Caucuses on Monday night, it was a tale of two parties. The Democratic race between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders was too close to call way into the night, while the Republican race didn’t take so long to call. But the Republican side did end in a fairly big upset, as Ted Cruz came out on top over Donald Trump, who was favored by most of the polls published leading up to the caucus.
Marco Rubio finished in third place on the Republican side, which is right where he expected to be. Despite that, Rubio did pick up a lot of momentum in Iowa, thanks to getting 23.1% of the votes, which is more than double Dr. Ben Carson, who finished in fourth place. For Rubio, it shows that at least early in the race, he can play with the big candidates.
Easily the biggest news from the Republican side was the upset that Cruz pulled. He ended up with 27.7% of the vote, easily defeating the former businessman Trump who, despite leading in the national polls, came in second with 24.3% of the vote.
While this doesn’t derail Trump’s campaign, it does give Cruz a massive boost, which is good, as the New Hampshire Primaries are just seven days away, with South Carolina not far behind.
It should be noted that on the Republican side, the candidate who won Iowa has not won the nomination since George Bush back in 2000, when he went on to defeat Al Gore in an election that was highly contested.
The Democratic race lasted until the early hours of the morning when the Democratic Party of Iowa determined that Clinton did indeed win, although the margin of victory was less than one percent.
The result is good for Sanders, who can now go into New Hampshire touting that he went from a long shot outsider to losing the Iowa Caucuses by less than one percent. The same can’t be said for Clinton, who despite technically winning, is now trailing in the momentum category, as she expected larger victory.
Martin O’Malley was the big loser of the night, as the former Democratic candidate was forced to suspend his campaign after getting less than one percent of the vote, which was not enough for him to get any delegates from the state.
What will be interesting to watch is where will his supporters go. The key to the rest of the race seems to be which Democratic candidate can pick up the O’Malley supporters.
Also, on the Republican side, Mike Huckabee suspended his campaign immediately after the Caucuses, and Rand Paul did the same on Wednesday. Huckabee's evangelical support and Paul's Libertarian votaries must scramble toward a new candidate, and it will be intriguing to see where they go.