Clinton Edges Out Sanders; Cruz Tops Trump in Iowa - NBC Bay Area
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Clinton Edges Out Sanders; Cruz Tops Trump in Iowa

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley ended his longshot bid for the Democratic nomination. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out on the Republican side.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Iowa Results: Cruz Wins, Clinton and Sanders' Close Call

    Ted Cruz comes out ahead as the clear winner in the Iowa Caucuses, but the race between the two Democrats was historically close. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016)

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a fiery conservative loathed by his own party's leaders, swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and a stronger-than-expected showing by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton came in ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders in a historically-close race.

    The former secretary of state, senator from New York and first lady edged past the Vermont senator in a race the Iowa Democratic Party called the closest in its caucus history. 

    The Iowa Democratic Party said Tuesday afternoon that it would not do any recount of the close results, and a spokesman for the Sanders campaign said it does not intend to challenge the results of the caucuses.

    "Tonight we saw an historically close Iowa Democratic Caucus," the party said in a statement shortly before 4 a.m. ET. 

    Cruz's victory over Trump was a testament to his massive get-out-the-vote operation in Iowa and the months he spent wooing the state's influential conservative and evangelical leaders.

    RESULTS: See all the results from Iowa here

    "Iowa has sent notice 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," Cruz said.

    His comments were echoed by Sanders, underscoring the degree to which voter frustration with the political system has crossed party lines in the 2016 campaign.

    "It is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics," said Sanders, who declared the Democratic race a "virtual tie."

    Clinton took the stage at her own campaign rally saying she was "breathing a big sigh of relief." Aware that even a slim victory over Sanders would reinvigorate questions about her candidacy, she foresaw a long race to come.

    Caucus Results

    Democratic Caucus

    99% ReportingSep 12, 7:56 AM
    Hillary Clinton (D)

    699

    49%
    Bernie Sanders (D)

    695

    49%
    Martin O'Malley (D)

    7

    0%
    Uncommitted (D)

    0

    0%
    Other (D)

    0

    0%

    "It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now, to have a real contest of ideas, to really think hard about what the Democratic Party stands for and what we want the future of our country to look like," Clinton said.

    Trump has shaken the Republican Party perhaps more than any other candidate, though he was unable to turn his legion of fans into an Iowa victory.

    He sounded humble in defeat, saying he was "honored" by the support of Iowans. And he vowed to keep up his fight for the Republican nomination.

    "We will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up," Trump told cheering supporters.

    For Clinton's supporters, the tight race with Sanders was sure to bring back painful memories of her loss to Barack Obama in 2008. Her campaign spent nearly a year building a get-out-the-vote operation in Iowa yet still seemed to be caught off guard by the enthusiasm surrounding Sanders.

    A self-declared democratic socialist from Vermont, Sanders drew large, youthful crowds across the state with his calls for breaking up big Wall Street banks and his fierce opposition to a campaign finance system that he says is rigged for the wealthy.

    Caucus Results

    Republican Caucus

    99% ReportingSep 12, 7:56 AM
    Ted Cruz (R)

    51649

    27%
    Donald Trump (R)

    45416

    24%
    Marco Rubio (R)

    43132

    23%
    Ben Carson (R)

    17393

    9%
    Rand Paul (R)

    8478

    4%
    Jeb Bush (R)

    5235

    2%
    Carly Fiorina (R)

    3483

    1%
    John Kasich (R)

    3473

    1%
    Mike Huckabee (R)

    3344

    1%
    Chris Christie (R)

    3278

    1%
    Rick Santorum (R)

    1783

    0%
    Jim Gilmore (R)

    12

    0%
    Other (R)

    119

    0%

    After landing in New Hampshire, Sanders dismissed a question about whether he would contest the close Iowa result, NBC News reported.

    "Honestly we just got off the plane, we don't know enough to say anything about it," he told reporters. "We look forward to doing well here in New Hampshire. And after that we're off to Nevada and then South Carolina where I think we're going to surprise a whole lot of people, just as we did in Iowa."

    Cruz modeled his campaign after past Iowa Republican winners, visiting all of the state's 99 counties and courting evangelical and conservative leaders. While candidates with that portfolio have often faded later in the primary season, Cruz hopes to ride his momentum to the nomination.

    Trump took second place, but Rubio, favored by more mainstream Republicans, gave him a battle even for that.

    "They told us we got no chance because my hair wasn't grey enough and that my boots were too high. They told me I had to wait my turn in line," Rubio told supporters Monday night. 

    Candidates in both parties faced an electorate deeply frustrated with Washington. While the economy has improved under President Barack Obama, the recovery has eluded many Americans. New terror threats at home and abroad have increased national security concerns.

    Voters at Republican caucuses indicated they were deeply unhappy with the way the federal government is working. Half said they were dissatisfied and 4 in 10 said they were angry, according to surveys conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and the television networks.

    Six in 10 Democratic caucus-goers wanted a candidate who would continue Obama's policies. Young voters overwhelmingly backed Sanders.

    Both parties were drawing new voters. About 4 in 10 participants in each party said they were caucusing for the first time.

    In Iowa, which has for decades launched the presidential nominating contest, candidates also faced an electorate that's whiter, more rural and more evangelical than many states. But, given its prime leadoff spot in the primary season, the state gets extra attention from presidential campaigns.

    The caucuses marked the end of at least two candidates' White House hopes. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley ended his longshot bid for the Democratic nomination. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dropped out on the Republican side.

    Republicans John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush were all spending Monday night in New Hampshire — not only to get a jump on the snow moving into Iowa but also to get ahead of their competitors in a state with voters who are expected to be friendlier to more traditional GOP candidates.

    How Do the Iowa Caucuses Work, Anyway?

    [NATL] How Do the Iowa Caucuses Work, Anyway?
    For more than 40 years, Iowa has been at the front of the presidential nominating process. Here is a look at how the Iowa caucuses work for the Democrats and the Republicans.
    (Published Monday, Feb. 1, 2016)

    While both parties caucused on the same night in Iowa, they did so with different rules.

    Republicans voted by private ballot. The state's 30 Republican delegates are awarded proportionally based on the vote, with at least eight delegates going to Cruz, seven to Trump and six to Rubio.

    Democrats form groups at caucus sites, publicly declaring their support for a candidate. The final numbers are awarded proportionately, based on statewide and congressional district voting, determining Iowa's 44 delegates to the national convention.

    Pace reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Lisa Lerer, Ken Thomas, Scott McFetridge and Scott Bauer contributed to this report.