Both the Republican and Democratic races for Presidential nominations ran into voter unrest Monday in Iowa and turned what some felt might be coronations into tight, tough races that could stretch well into the nominating season in 2016.
Billionaire braggart Donald Trump’s expected big win fell short with an strong upset win by hard-core conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz and a resurgence of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who came close to moving Trump down even further with a strong third place finish.
In delegate allocations, Cruz finished the night with eight while Trump and Rubio received seven each.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s one-time projected cruise-in to the Democratic nomination ran into self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders. Their race finished in a dead heat with current tallies Clinton 22 delegates and Sanders 21.
Long shot Martin O’Malley announced he is giving up on the Democratic side after finishing dead last with no delegates.
Same for Republican Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won the the caucus in Iowa eight years ago.
For Cruz, the win comes with a caveat: Iowa winners are often flashes in the pan who fall quickly in the primaries that follow. Huckabee won Iowa eight years ago, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania in 2012. That was pretty much it for both in previous years and Santorum, who is running again this year. finished behind Huckabee Monday night with just one percent of the vote and no delegates.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush trailed badly, finishing a distant sixth with just three percent of the vote. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul didn’t go much better, coming in fifth with five percent.
Among announced candidates, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore came in dead last with just 12 votes out of the more than 150,000 cast.
Many veteran political observers consider Rubio the big winner and a man to watch, depending first on how he finishes in the New Hampshire primary next week and whether or not his resurgence brings out big money donors and support from the Republican “establishment.”
Trump led the polls going into the Iowa race and has a double-digit lead in New Hampshire but the surprising results from Iowa could turn that primary upside down by next week.
“Tomorrow afternoon we will be in New Hampshire and that will be something special,” Trump said in his concession speech. “We will go on to easily beat Bernie, or Hillary, or whoever the hell they throw up.”
Throw up? Some folks feel that Trump’s candidacy makes them want to throw up.
Trump’s second place was almost third. He finished the night just one percentage point ahead of Rubio.
Cruz played his conservative credentials well with Iowa’s hard-core right wing. The state’s GOP voters awards those who put religion first. Cruz courted the evangelicals. His campaign had 11,986 volunteers working Iowa. His captains worked the 1,681 precincts.
Rubio pushed a need for “unity,” a theme absent from the contentious campaigns of Cruz and Trump. His messages on the last week said the party and the country “must work together.”
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton once seemingly insurmountable lead in pre-caucus polls ran into lingering suspicions on her questionable handling of emails on her private computer server as Secretary of State as well as husband and former President Bill’s scandals and affairs.
Sanders, considered an “independent” in the Senate and a “socialist” by his own definition, tapped into the same surge of voter anger as Trump.
While Clinton declared victory the win was not the margin she wanted or needed to build momentum.
Sanders is expected to do well in New Hampshire.
The voting has started and the mayhem reboots and goes on.