Iowa caucus results: Clinton and Sanders too close to call; Cruz bests Trump

Full results from the Iowa caucuses

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

Results will stream in live as they're tallied.

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Iowa Democrats fell short in tabulating results, Sanders campaign charges

With the Iowa caucuses results between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a dead heat early Tuesday, the focus quickly turned to a small number of precincts that weren't reporting results.

The Sanders team said the Iowa Democratic Party dropped the ball.

The party rejected that description as inaccurate, saying there was adequate staffing at the caucuses. The problem, an official said, was that they were having trouble getting in touch with precinct chairs to get the results.

"We have reached out to the campaigns for help in contacting the chairs for our outstanding precincts," the official said.

Fiorina wins less than 2% of Iowa vote

Carly Fiorina, the failed California U.S. Senate candidate who had a brief burst of momentum in the GOP presidential race, finished with just under 2% of the vote Monday.

The candidate, a former business chief executive who unsuccessfully ran for the Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer in 2010, received fewer than 3,500 votes in the Iowa caucuses.

She finished seventh of 12 candidates.

Her campaign and the super PAC backing Fiorina’s bid did not respond to requests for comment.

Fiorina tweeted Monday night that she was boarding a plane: "See you soon, New Hampshire."

Fox News reported that Fiorina skipped her own caucus party because of an incoming blizzard.

In the days leading up to the caucuses, Fiorina had pledged she would surprise the political observers who had declared her White House bid dead.

“I'm here to tell you ... on Monday we're going to surprise people here in Iowa, and we're going to leave here with the wind at our back," she told supporters at a photography exhibit here last week.

It’s unclear whether the poor showing will prompt Fiorina to leave the race. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who finished with 139 fewer votes than Fiorina, announced Monday night he was suspending his campaign.

A spokeswoman for the Fiorina super PAC tweeted Sunday that it had $4.5 million in cash on hand, more than enough money to continue its effort. And in Fiorina’s 2010 Senate race, she refused to concede until the day after votes were cast, despite losing by 10 points.

Fiorina invested heavily in Iowa, crisscrossing the state and holding 138 town halls, rallies and meet-and-greets, among the most appearances for a GOP candidate. Her charisma on the stump, which she displayed in her unsuccessful Senate run, was indisputable. For a brief moment as summer turned to fall, Fiorina rose in the polls.

During the first GOP debate in Cleveland in August, she was relegated to the undercard debate for second-tier candidates because polls showed she had little support.

A sterling performance drove up her numbers, landing her a spot on stage at the September prime-time debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

She again delivered a well-regarded performance and memorably confronted GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who had made critical remarks about her appearance.

In the aftermath, Fiorina's polling hit double digits in Iowa.

But since October, the former Hewlett-Packard chief has been mired in the low single digits. In the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Saturday, Fiorina drew the support of 2% of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers, tied for last place.

The decline, according to political observers, was a consequence of her squandering her post-Reagan debate momentum, the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino placing an even greater emphasis on foreign policy experience, and a crowded GOP field.

After finishing fourth in Iowa, Ben Carson vows to push ahead

 (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson lobbed jabs at his rivals and the media following Monday's Iowa caucuses in which he finished a distant fourth. 

"For months, my campaign has survived the lies and dirty tricks from opponents who profess to detest the games of the political class, but in reality are masters at it," Carson said in a statement, while noting he did better in Iowa than three former or current governors. "Even tonight, my opponents resorted to political tricks by tweeting, texting and telling precinct captains to announce that I had suspended my campaign -- in some cases asking caucusgoers to change their votes."

Earlier on Monday, his campaign fought off reports of the possibility he may suspend his campaign as he heads home to Florida, rather than on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, the sites of the first Republican primaries.

"After spending 18 consecutive days on the campaign trail, Dr. Carson needs to go home and get a fresh set of clothes," Larry Ross, a spokesman for Carson, said as early returns were tallied. Still, the comment raised eyebrows among political observers. 

Ross vowed that Carson would push forward and be on the ground in New Hampshire and South Carolina in the weeks ahead.

Caucus night takeaways: Republicans are suddenly in a 3-man race


After months of polling and endless speculation, actual voters finally took to the polls Monday in Iowa’s caucuses. Yes, they were a relative handful of people and not a particularly diverse set. But they were nonetheless real voters, lending flesh to all the political theories. Iowa’s track record of picking winners has been mixed, but it almost always shapes the race. This year’s results were a typical mixed bag of dashed expectations and surprising surges.

Here are a few things we noticed:

Sanders campaign manager predicts 'a tremendous bounce'

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

The man behind Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign on Monday night said he expects "a tremendous bounce" out of Iowa after the Vermont senator found himself locked in a race there with Hillary Clinton that was too close to call.

“An early success gives your candidate and your campaign credibility to future voters," said Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weaver. He said he was looking forward to taking the campaign to New Hampshire "where the senator is very, very popular." Sanders is ahead in many polls there.

Although the Iowa race was virtually tied Monday night, Sanders and his supporters looked and sounded like they were celebrating a victory.

In a speech to a jubilant crowd in the ballroom of a Des Moines hotel, Sanders said the Iowa results signaled the beginning of "a political revolution.”

"Nine months ago we came to this beautiful state," Sanders said. "We had no political organization, we had no money, no name recognition. And we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America."

Sanders, who had to catch a plane to New Hampshire, stuck close to his stump speech, vowing to fight for more equality and to create "an economy that works for working families, not just the billionaire class."

He also mentioned the need for prison reform, which he said would disproportionately benefit Latinos and African Americans.

Whether Sanders can appeal to those groups may well determine the future of his campaign. Polls show he continues to lag behind Clinton in name recognition and favorability among those demographics, which could have major consequences in the early primary states of Nevada and South Carolina.

Weaver, Sanders' campaign manager, said the campaign is prepared to fight for those voters.

“I think people are going to be surprised," he said. 

Waiting on precincts?

Times editorial board weighs in on Iowa results

The headline from the Los Angeles Times editorial board sort of says it all: "Ted Cruz does the country a favor by beating Donald Trump in Iowa"

Read the editorial.

Cruz gives nod to Reagan, evangelicals (and even Obama) in victory speech

Ted Cruz tapped the memory Ronald Reagan and the power of evangelical voters in celebrating his Iowa caucuses victory Tuesday.

And at one point, the conservative firebrand even sounded like President Obama: "Yes, we can!"

"Morning is coming," Cruz said from the stage in Des Moines, joined by his wife, Heidi, invoking the former president.

He also thanked New Hampshire for helping Reagan win in 1980.

Cruz, who overpowered billionaire Donald Trump, gave blessings to Iowans, a nod to the evangelical voters who helped power his win over Donald Trump.

Between the "Camp Cruz" volunteers — who moved into the Hawkeye State to stump for the Texas senator — and his "grass roots army," Cruz said he turned out 48,608 votes — more than any other Republican caucus winner in Iowa.

In a long speech that was not carried by all of the networks because Hillary Clinton began speaking at the same time, Cruz framed his win as a repudiation of the Washington elite. 

“Tonight is a victory for the grass-roots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation,” told supporters from a chilly brick building on the state fairgrounds. “Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the 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 incredible, powerful force where all sovereignty resides in our nation, we the people, the American people.”

Also joining Cruz were his father, Pastor Rafael Cruz, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and influential evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats. 

His father, who visited Iowa’s churches on behalf of his son, repeatedly pointed to the sky in thanks. 

Watch live: The candidates speak in Iowa

The final messages from Sanders and Clinton as they bid farewell to Iowa

Trump: 'I might come here and buy a farm. I love it'

 (John Taggart / Associated Press)
(John Taggart / Associated Press)

Chastened by his loss in the Iowa caucuses, a subdued Donald Trump told supporters Monday night that he was “happy with the way everything worked out” and still expected to win the Republican presidential nomination.

“We will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there,” Trump told a few hundred supporters in a hotel ballroom.

Joined onstage by his wife, Melania Trump, and other family members, the New York billionaire told the crowd he had come to love Iowa.

“We will be back many, many times,” he said. “In fact, I think I might come here and buy a farm. I love it, OK?”

Trump said he also loves New Hampshire and South Carolina, where his loss in Iowa could make it more difficult for him to win the upcoming primaries.

“We finished second, and I want to tell you something, I’m just honored,” he said. “I’m really honored.”

Trump also congratulated Iowa winner Ted Cruz, the Texas senator he’d been attacking relentlessly for weeks, and thanked his family and campaign team.

“On to New Hampshire,” he said as the crowd chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump.” “So long, everybody.”

Trump’s concession speech lasted just three and a half minutes.

Marco Rubio pokes at skeptics in celebrating strong third-place finish

 (Paul Sancya / AP)
(Paul Sancya / AP)

Marco Rubio celebrated his third-place finish in Iowa by poking at naysayers after he came within striking distance of billionaire Donald Trump for the No. 2 spot.

"This is the moment they said would never happen," said Rubio, flanked by his wife, Jeanette, and four children.

"For months they told us because we offered too much optimism in a time of anger," the first-term Florida senator said. 

"They told me that we had no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high" — a reference to his semi-famous high-ish-heeled shoes.

The strong finish gives Rubio's sluggish campaign the potential boost it needs heading into New Hampshire. 

Rubio has long positioned himself as the candidate of "tomorrow," trying to force a direct contrast to Hillary Clinton, and onstage in Iowa he called the 2016 election a referendum on the country's future.

In a nod to his age, the senator added that some factions of the party said he “needed to wait his turn.” 

“That I needed to wait in line,” said Rubio, 44. “But tonight here in Iowa the people of this great state sent a very clear message – after seven years of Barack Obama we are not waiting any longer to take our country back.”

"There are only two ways forward for us now: We can either be greater than we've ever been or we can be a great nation in decline," he said.  

Hillary Clinton is 'breathing a big sigh of relief'

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton urged Democrats to unify after late returns in the Iowa caucuses showed her with a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders. 

"I stand here tonight breathing a big sigh of relief: Thank you, Iowa," Clinton told supporters.

"When it is all said and done we have to be united against a Republican vision and candidates who would drive us apart and divide us."

Clinton noted that she had been following the GOP candidates "very closely," and rejected their divisive message.

"I understand what they're appealing to, and I intend to stand against it," she said.

"The Democratic Party and this campaign stands for what is best in America."

Raucous crowd at Sanders party as race tightens

Bernie Sanders supporters were celebrating Monday night— even though the Democratic race was still too close to call.

"I think we've already won," campaign volunteer Shawn Jahner said. "We closed a 40-point gap in three months."

Sanders was trailing rival Hillary Clinton by only a few tenths of a percentage point Monday night.

He and several hundred others watched the votes roll in at a raucous campaign party in Des Moines. The Sanders supporters, many of whom had just supported him at their regional caucuses around the city, drank beers and danced to a soundtrack of funk music.

The crowd erupted in cheers of "Feel The Bern!" each time the Vermont senator appeared on screen.

A win for Sanders in Iowa would help launch him onto the national stage, Jahner said. "Look what it did for Obama in 2008."

An excited crowd at Clinton HQ

Ted Cruz campaign: We still view Donald Trump as our top foe


Ted Cruz's campaign views Donald Trump as its only obstacle to winning the GOP nomination and plans to repeat its Iowa play in the upcoming primaries and caucuses, a top aide said Monday, moments after Cruz was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses.

“We already have 10,000 volunteers in Georgia, 200,000 volunteers nationwide,” said Rick Tyler, Cruz’s communications director. “We’ll just replicate this model in state after state after state.”

Speaking to reporters at Cruz’s caucus night party, Tyler said that despite Sen. Marco Rubio’s strong third-place showing, Trump will be their top foe.

“Trump has an uncanny ability to make news. Even though you’re all here and we won, somehow Trump will be the story tomorrow,” he said. “Rubio is going to get lost in that. He’s not going to be the story. Trump will be the story. And Trump can write checks. Rubio’s going to leave here with no money.”

Clinton-Sanders race grows closer and closer

People, including Clinton volunteer and actor Blake Cooper Griffin from Los Angeles, watch returns at a caucus night rally for Clinton at Drake University in Des Moines. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
People, including Clinton volunteer and actor Blake Cooper Griffin from Los Angeles, watch returns at a caucus night rally for Clinton at Drake University in Des Moines. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton jumped out to a small, early lead as Iowa counted its caucus returns, but as the evening has worn on, her margin has grown steadily smaller.

With half the vote counted, Clinton had a 3-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. With almost 90% in, it was down to half a point.

One potential good sign for Clinton was that a disproportionate amount of the uncounted votes were in the state's most populous county, Polk, which includes Des Moines. She has maintained about an 8-point margin in the county, and if that holds up, her lead would expand once again.

For now, though, the race remains far too close to call. 

Trump supporters boo as Cruz win announced

Boos erupted at Donald Trump’s caucus party outside Des Moines after CNN declared his rival Ted Cruz the winner of the Iowa caucuses.

“I’m a little bit surprised,” said Skip Craig, 54, a sales manager in Clive. “I’m really not sure what he did wrong.”

“I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and hope he does better in New Hampshire,” said Terri Braun, 61, a Des Moines nurse. “I’m disappointed.”

Trump’s crowd included first-time voter Mindy Lidke, 38, of Beaverdale. She was inspired by his brash rhetoric and shake-up-the-system approach to politics.

“Get to the point and get the job done,” she said as TV monitors tuned to CNN showed Trump rival Ted Cruz pulling ahead.

Like other Trump backers, Lidke put illegal immigration at the top of her concerns.

“I don’t want people that are illegal stealing my job or getting jobs that us American citizens should have,” she said.

When TV monitors in the hotel ballroom showed a CNN correspondent saying the atmosphere in the room was “subdued,” the sound was abruptly cut off and the crowd shouted “Trump, Trump, Trump,” a few times, but quickly fell silent.