IOWA, USA — On Monday, February 1st, the people of Iowa participated in the first caucus of the presidential election. A caucus is a meeting where local party members get the chance to vote for their preferred candidate. At these caucuses, candidates earn delegates depending on the percentage of votes that they earn.
In a surprise turn of events, Texas Senator Ted Cruz finished first for the Republican Party over Donald Trump, who was leading the polls. Florida Senator Marco Rubio showed a surge in support and finished with the same number of delegates as Donald Trump but was one percentage point behind him.
Democratic hopefuls, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, were locked in a virtual tie at the end of the night. Clinton leads Sanders 23 delegates to 21. The race was so close that in six of the precincts, the outcome was decided by a coin toss, all of which favored Clinton.
Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley declared that he was suspending his campaign after receiving less than one percent of the popular vote.
Dr. Ben Carson, who once led the polls in Iowa, will make a pit stop at his Florida home to “get a fresh set of clothes.” The news comes as the focus of the campaign shifts to New Hampshire and South Carolina. Carson earned three delegates and 9.3% of the Republican caucus vote in Iowa.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul dropped out of the race after a fifth place finish and 4.5% of the vote. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the 2012 Iowa Caucus, also announced the end of his campaign. Former Pennsylvania Governor Rick Santorum also declared an end to his bid for election. The Republican field has been narrowed down to nine candidates: Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Jim Gilmore.
Jill Stein, who received half a million votes in the 2012 Presidential Election, is the Green Party candidate in the 2016 election cycle. Stein is running on a progressive platform and aims to create, “deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit.”
The road to the general election continues to New Hampshire, which hosts the nation’s first primary election.