Iowa caucuses: Cruz wins, Clinton and Sanders in virtual tie

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Ted Cruz poses for a photo with constituents at a meet-and-greet in Washington D.C. in February 2015.
Photo Credit: Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won the majority of Republican Iowa caucus delegates Monday night as the top two Democrats were caught in a virtual tie in a race that came down to the wire as the night went on.

With a record-setting turnout of 180,000 from both parties, Republican caucus voters gave Cruz 28 percent of the vote, while Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) trailed behind at 24 and 23 percent, respectively.

“I think it goes to prove that he has an amazing grassroots campaign that has the ability to win this race,” said Jessica Browning, assistant state director with Millennials for Ted Cruz.

According to polls released in the few weeks leading up to Iowa, Trump and Cruz were in a tight race for first and second on the Republican side, with Rubio coming in at third. 

Cruz ended the night with eight delegates, while seven went to Trump, seven went to Rubio, three went to Ben Carson, one went to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and one went to Jeb Bush.

“The grassroots [supporters] are going to have a strong voice, they’re going to continue to push forward and they’re going to continue to do what they did in Iowa,” Browning said.

Both former Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — who won the 2008 Iowa Republican caucus — suspended their campaigns Monday night.

On the Democratic side, Clinton’s initial 53-47 lead over Sanders narrowed gradually as the margin shrunk to less than 1 percent as more precincts rolled in. The margin was so close — exactly 49.8 and 49.6 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting — that both candidates declared victory, while media outlets refused to call the race for either.

At press time, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, 22 delegates went to Clinton and 21 to Sanders.

Maliha Mazhar, University Democrats communications director, said she believes the razor-thin margin between the top two candidates shows just how compelling the rest of the campaign season will be.

“This gives a lot of credibility to the Bernie campaign, … and I think it’s a pretty strong showing for Hillary,” Mazhar said. “I think it shows the top two candidates for president are both extremely qualified, and I love the debate they are having.”

Polling in the state of New Hampshire, where Democrats head to the polls on Feb. 9, has shown Sanders with a large lead, while Clinton leads in most of the following states in the race.

Plan II sophomore Charlie Bonner, a Students for Hillary volunteer, said Hillary supporters are feeling great looking at the results in light of the strong campaign their candidate showed in Iowa.

“[It was] a very narrow victory, but a victory nonetheless,” Bonner said. “The demographics as [Hillary] gets down to the South are only in her favor.”

After Iowa and New Hampshire, all the candidates still in the race will continue to compete as the campaigns enter Super Tuesday on March 1, when a long list of states, including Texas, finally get their
opportunity to vote.