Former President Donald Trump achieved a record-setting victory in Monday evening’s 2024 Iowa Republican Caucus with 51 percent of the vote, finishing just under 30 points ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and winning all but one of Iowa’s 99 counties.
In his victory speech Monday night, Trump emphasized a message of unity and congratulated DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, saying “I think they both did very well.”
“I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together,” Trump said. “Whether it’s Republican or Democrat, or liberal or conservative, it would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world, and straighten out the problems.”
DeSantis, who spent much of his campaign’s resources and time in the Hawkeye state, just managed to edge out Haley for a second place finish, receiving 21.2 percent of the vote over Haley’s 19.1 percent.
The Florida governor’s message to his supporters at the end of the evening was that he had successfully gotten his “ticket punched out of Iowa” to continue seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
DeSantis also criticized the media for calling the Iowa Caucus for Donald Trump “before people even got a chance to vote.”
CBS, NBC, Associated Press and several other outlets projected Trump to be the winner of the Iowa Caucus at around 8:30 p.m. EST, when just a few hundred votes had been tallied.
Nikki Haley, who has focused her campaign’s resources into New Hampshire — which is set to have its first-in-the-nation Republican primary election next Tuesday, Jan. 23 — told her supporters Monday that “Iowa made this Republican primary a two person race.”
Haley is expected to have a much stronger performance in New Hampshire than in Iowa — the current Real Clear Politics New Hampshire primary polling average has her trailing Trump by about 14 points, having surged ahead of DeSantis and the now-dropped out Chris Christie.
Although two additional GOP primary debates are slated to take place this week between DeSantis and Haley, Haley announced Tuesday morning that she will not join any more debates unless she is facing off against either Donald Trump or Joe Biden.
DeSantis responded to Haley by slamming her for being “afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions such as how she got rich off Boeing after giving them millions in taxpayer handouts as governor of South Carolina.”
“The reality is that she is not running for the nomination, she’s running to be Trump’s [vice president],” DeSantis wrote on X Tuesday, adding that he looks forward to “debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week.”
Political outsider and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy had a disappointing night, failing to achieve an upset strong showing in Iowa — despite his vigorous campaigning which saw him visit each of the state’s 99 counties twice.
After receiving only 7.7 percent of the vote and finishing in fourth place, Ramaswamy announced Monday night to his supporters in Des Moines that he is suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Trump.
“There is no path for me to be the next president, absent things that we don’t want to see happen in this country,” Ramaswamy said.
“This has to be an America first candidate in that White House,” he said. “As I’ve said since the beginning, there are two America first candidates in this race, and earlier tonight I called Donald Trump to tell him that I congratulate him on his victory, and now going forward he will have my full endorsement for the presidency.”