With 99% of the vote in, Fox News is calling the Iowa Caucus for Ted Cruz. Cruz has earned 28% of the vote with Trump at 24% while Rubio on his heels at 23%.
Cruz’s win is astonishing given longtime Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad’s edict to Hawkeyes not to vote for him for his opposition to ethanol subsidies. But he did have Steve King in his corner as well as a very strong organization.
It would appear that Donald Trump’s decision to skip last week’s debate in Des Moines cost him dearly. In fact, as I argued last week, it has to go down as one of the biggest blunders in the history of presidential politics.
In fact, Trump finished with only a little over 2,000 more votes than Marco Rubio. For voters unimpressed with Trump skipping the debate but not wanting to support Cruz, Rubio became a viable alternative. Being afraid of Megyn Kelly comes with a price.
Even though Cruz can celebrate tonight, his triumph might be short-lived. Fat lot of good winning Iowa did Mike Huckabee (more on him in a separate post) and Rick Santorum. It remains to be seen if Cruz will resonate in a libertarian state like New Hampshire. This isn’t to say Rubio doesn’t have challenges with both Chris Christie and John Kasich gaining footholds in the Granite state and where Trump still commands a large lead. But Rubio is an homme serieux and cannot be so easily dismissed.
We shall find out in eight days.