Updated Tuesday, Feb. 2, 6:15 a.m. EST: Hillary Clinton’s campaign has released a statement declaring victory in the Iowa caucus. According to USA Today, her state campaign director, Matt Paul, issued a statement saying that, statistically, there’s no way for Sen. Bernie Sanders to overtake her. For his part, Sanders’ camp noted that there’s still one precinct left to count.
It was an upset.
Despite leading in the polls, billionaire tycoon-turned-reality-show-host-turned-politician Donald Trump did not pull out the win in Iowa Monday night. Instead, the top spot went to Texas Tea Party conservative Ted Cruz, who beat out Trump 28 percent to 24 percent with 99 percent of Iowa’s precincts reporting.
Cruz, in his victory speech, said that his win was one for “courageous conservatives across Iowa” and “all across the nation,” adding that the Republican nominee and next president of the United States “will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment. Will not be chosen by the lobbyists, but will be chosen by the most incredibly powerful force, where all sovereignty resides in our nation—we the people, the American people.”
After the loss, Trump gave one of his shortest speeches on the stump where he joked about how people didn’t think he would even finish in the top 10 and how he had enjoyed Iowa so much, he might “buy a farm” there.
In contrast, GOP candidate Sen. Marco Rubio gave a rousing concession speech clearly meant to appeal to the supporters of the many Republicans in the field who came in in the single digits. Rubio finished a close third to Trump with 23 percent of the GOP caucus vote.
On the Democratic side, locked neck and neck with her rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t explicitly declare victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders while both were still at 50 percent in the race for Iowa. It was so close, a few precincts had to actually be decided by a coin toss.
So dominant was the deadlocked battle between Clinton and Sanders that Martin O’Malley became one of the first casualties of the night. Coming in at less than 1 percent of the vote, O’Malley announced that he was suspending his campaign. (On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee also suspended his campaign later in the evening.)
As the evening went on, Clinton gave a speech that didn’t acknowledge the tightness of the race or explicitly say that she won, but she thanked Iowa and said that she had breathed a “sigh of relief.”
“I know that we may have differences of opinion about how best to achieve our goals, but I believe that we have a very clear idea that the Democratic Party and this campaign stands for what is best in America and we have to be united when it’s all said and done,” Clinton said. “We have to be united against a Republican vision and candidates who would drive us apart and divide us.”
Sanders, in his Iowa speech, also took a victorious tone in a race that was still too close to determine a winner.
Speaking on economic inequality, Sanders said the U.S. is a country based on fairness, then went on to point out how unfair things have become.
“The American people are saying no to a rigged economy,” Sanders said. “They no longer want to see an economy in which the average American works longer hours. … Are you guys ready for a radical idea? Well, so is America, and that radical idea is that we’re going to create an economy that works for working families, not just the billionaire class,” said Sanders, adding that “we will” have a $15 minimum wage and pay equity for women.