Ted Cruz pulled off an upset win in Iowa last night. Analysts credit a strong ground game that overcame the rogue campaign enthusiasm from the Trump campaign.
Donald Trump led in every poll except the one that counted: the actual vote by Iowans. Behind a record Republican turnout, the senator from Texas took the Iowa caucuses over both Trump and a surging Marco Rubio, who finished a strong third. Going into last night, an average of polls (RealClearPolitics) showed Trump over Cruz by almost five points.
"Let me first of all say, to God be the glory," Cruz began his victory speech. "Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, but will be chosen by we the people, the American people."
Mindy Breaux was one of those. A first-time caucus-goer and a homeschool mother of four, she tells OneNewsNow she was energized by the process.
"We went into the main hall and someone stood up and the first thing we did was recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which I was pretty excited about. I didn't know they were going to do that," she shares.
Her caucus was typical of several surveyed last night: overcrowded, patriotic, and with a surprise winner. "We stuck around until the count was over," she describes, "and in our particular caucus, Rubio won by one point over Cruz – and then Trump was a solid 20 points behind Cruz and Rubio."
"Ted Cruz is running against history. The middle governs in America, and he's running a race to the right of center ..... Unless he moves toward the center, as Ronald Reagan did, he ultimately will lose. He's trying to win with a conservative, Christian message in a post-Christian America."
Dr. Charles W. Dunn
Professor emeritus of government
"For people who are concerned about his evangelicalism - and certainly the people of New Hampshire will not be won by that - I firmly believe that Senator Cruz understands fully how to translate his message to a different audience. It isn't that he's changing his mind or altering his views. Senator Cruz, remember, is a graduate of Princeton. He is nobody's fool. He understands the world."
Director of governmental affairs
American Family Association
The rise of Senator Rubio was the other story on the Republican side of the contest. His strong finish was not even hinted at by the national polls. Jenifer Bowen of Iowa Right to Life says that bodes well for the rest of the primaries and on to the general election in November.
"We're at very perilous times in our country on many, many different fronts, and so maybe we're seeing the beginning of a new uprising," she says hopefully.
Pundits are crediting Cruz's upset win, in part, to his approach in Iowa, in which he visited all 99 precincts – a campaign strategy that has come to be known as "the full Grassley."