Christian Segers, Opinion Editor
All eyes turned to Iowa last week as Republican presidential candidates lined voter cards, in what would be the largest pool of caucus goers in Iowa history, with Sen. Ted Cruz claiming victory over Donald Trump.
All the hype and debate surrounding the 2016 presidential election season saw its first results on Monday, Feb. 1, with the Iowa caucus victory going to Sen. Ted Cruz, after pollsters had the candidate in a virtual tie with nationwide GOP poll leader, Donald Trump.
Cruz was confirmed as Iowa’s Republican party elect shortly before midnight, garnering 27.6 percent of total votes. Upon winning, Cruz delivered a lengthy speech to campaign staff, supporters and the general media.
“Tonight is a victory for millions of Americans, who have shouldered the burden of seven years of Washington deals run amok," Cruz said. "Tonight is a victory for every American who’s watched in despair as career politicians in Washington in both parties refuse to listen and too often fail to keep their commitments to the people. Tonight is a victory for every American who understands that after we survive eight long years of the Obama presidency, that no one personality can right the wrongs done by Washington.”
Trump came in a respectable second place with 24.3 percent of votes. However, Trump’s campaign has continuously promised nothing short of the utter demolition of his competitors and has consistently revolved around his “winner” mentality. With the New Hampshire caucus rapidly following that of Iowa, Trump is under increased pressure from supporters to deliver, or else the same voters who have thus far backed the real estate mogul, might jump the ship.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came from Marco Rubio’s sizeable influx of votes versus previous Iowa polling that placed his support far behind that of Cruz and Trump. With 23.1 percent of votes falling in Rubio’s favor in Iowa, he has all but solidified his selection as the Republican Party’s establishment candidate.
With the exception of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s 9.3 percent, no other candidate was even close to double-digit support. Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee (who have since announced the suspension of their campaigns due to poor turnouts in Iowa) Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and Chris Christie, all failed to collect any measure of strength in the beginning state.
As the ballots for Iowa are collected and completed, the presidential hopefuls turn their sights towards the long road ahead, each hoping to claim the national party nomination on July 18, 2016.