Senator Ted Cruz won the Iowa GOP Caucuses with 28% of the vote. Donald Trump finished with 24%. To me, one of two big surprises was Senator Marco Rubio earning 23% of the vote for third place. (He and Trump earned the same number of delegates.)
The other surprise of the night was Senator Rand Paul’s fifth place finish in the Republican race. The polls had shown him running seventh or lower.
The evening was marred by the actions of aides to Cruz. Just before the caucuses began, they were Tweeting that Dr. Ben Carson was dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination, based on a CNN report that Carson wasn’t traveling to New Hampshire. They also said caucus goers shouldn’t waste their vote on Carson if that was the case.
Carson had actually said that he would return home for a day and then travel on to New Hampshire.
CNN did not say Carson was dropping out. No logical person would immediately interpret that report to mean Carson was quitting. Why would any candidate drop out right before the vote? Cruz aides obviously decided to twist the news to their advantage.
Apologies came a bit later, but any damage had already been done. That’s typical political behavior: spread rumors, wait for an effect, then issue a disclaimer or apology.
Today a Cruz supporter in Iowa said it was o.k. because the aides apologized. She also added, “All’s fair in love and war.” Sorry, but the ends do not justify the means. Integrity matters in politics. Can a candidate – or those who advise him or her – be trusted to provide the truth to the American people? The aides involved in this incident should be fired.
On the Democrats’ side, former Senator/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders finished in a tie. This morning, Clinton was eventually declared the winner by literally a few votes. Martin O’Malley earned almost no votes and has suspended his campaign.