AP: Ted Cruz bests Trump, Rubio in tight Republican caucuses

Feb. 1, 2016

AP – Ted Cruz came out on top in the leadoff Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, pushing aside Donald Trump and emerging from the pack of candidates.

Cruz bested billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in an intense fight for the GOP nomination.

As the first presidential primary contest of 2016, Iowa’s decision will shape the path of the Republican race. Trump has surged atop national polls with his aggressive populism and packed rallies, while Cruz carved out support in Iowa with his fiery conservatism and methodical outreach. Rubio is working to emerge as the clear favorite in his party’s mainstream wing, which fears either Cruz or Trump would be disastrous in a general election matchup against the Democratic nominee.

Dan Sadler, a 43-year-old mechanic from Des Moines, caucused for Cruz and was attending his party at the fairgrounds. Sadler said he was attracted to Cruz because he is a Christian, his father is a pastor and the Texas senator “stands on the truth.”

Sadler admitted to not knowing much about Cruz’s platform or his plans for making government run better.

“If you have the power of God behind you, you can do a lot of things,” he said.

Trump visited caucus sites and found large crowds amid reports of increased voter turnout. John Mickelson, who ran one of the caucus sites, described the influx of voters as “unprecedented.”

“They say the record crowds are good for us so we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters before a brief address to caucus-goers in West Des Moines.

The Iowa results may narrow what has been an unusually crowded Republican field, with a number of candidates struggling to achieve the turnout needed to continue. Trump, Cruz and Rubio were in a tight fight for victory, according to entrance poll interviews conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press and television networks. The key to winning may depend on tapping into voter frustrations with the federal government. Nine out of 10 Republican voters said they’re angry or dissatisfied with Washington.

Among conservative caucus-goers, the entrance poll showed Cruz was the top choice. Trump fared best with moderates. Caucus-goers who said they were somewhat conservative were split between Rubio and Trump.

Half of those surveyed said they prefer a candidate outside the political establishment, with Trump leading the way. The 4 in 10 who said they prefer someone with political experience gave the nod to Rubio, followed by Cruz.

Joshua Eike, 42, had been torn between Trump and Cruz. But the entrepreneur from Yale, Iowa, decided, after some final research on both campaigns’ websites, to caucus for the outsider Trump, who has never held elected office.

“He truly is not a standard politician and that’s important to me,” Eike said.

Monday’s contest will offer the first hard evidence of whether Trump can turn the legion of fans drawn to his plainspoken populism into voters. The scope of the billionaire’s organization in Iowa is a mystery, though Trump himself has intensified his campaign schedule during the final sprint.

Cruz has modeled his campaign after past Iowa winners, visiting all of the state’s 99 counties and courting influential evangelical and conservative leaders. He has spent the closing days of the Iowa contest attacking Rubio in an effort to keep the Florida senator from inching into second place.

Meanwhile, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich barely register in recent Iowa polls. The trio of governors is banking instead on strong showings in New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary to jumpstart their White House bids.

Associated Press


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    3 February 2016 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    That’s the last time Cruz will beat Trump, Cruz was very lucky to have win in “IOWA.” Let’s see what happen across America if Cruz can win Trump, I really don’t think so. Cruz can’t be trusted to be our leader of our country. We need somebody new to be our leader, like Donald Trump. He will put America back on the map.