Trump wins Iowa's leadoff caucuses, while Haley and DeSantis grapple for second. Follow live updates

  • Canadian Press

Donald Trump has won Iowa’s leadoff presidential caucuses.

The former president’s victory on Monday night gives him a strong start in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination as the contest moves to New Hampshire.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are vying for a second−place finish in Iowa that would give them at least some momentum heading into future races.

What to know

Trump wins Iowa caucuses in crucial victory at the outset of contest

What to watch as voters weigh in on the first 2024 GOP contest

Here’s what to expect in the Iowa caucuses

Who’s running for president? Here are the 2024 candidates

Feeling caucus confusion? Your guide to how Iowa works

Haley appeals to voters who want to ‘move forward with no more vendettas’

CLIVE — Haley has added a forward−looking wind−up to her standard campaign speech that seemed to graze Trump.

“If you want to move forward with no more vendettas, if you want to move forward with a sense of hope, join us in this caucus,” she said. “I ask for your vote. And I promise you I will make sure every day I focus on what it takes to make you proud.”

Several hundred people at the Horizon Events Center rose to their feet in applause.

Race for second place is between Haley and DeSantis

DES MOINES — Haley and DeSantis are vying for second place in Iowa’s leadoff Republican caucuses.

The contest for runner−up narrowed to the former U.N. ambassador and the Florida governor on Monday night after Trump was declared the winner of the first−in−the−nation GOP voting contest.

Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson are among the other candidates competing for votes.

Trump addresses caucus site shortly before AP calls Iowa for him

CLIVE — Shortly before the AP called Trump the winner in Iowa, the former president spoke at a caucus site in Des Moines.

Trump was greeted with loud cheers and applause as he addressed the crowd.

“I would appreciate your vote. I think I deserve it,” he said, making the case that things were much better when he was in charge. “We were a great nation three years ago and today people are laughing at us,” he said.

Trump was proceeded on stage by Asa Hutchinson and followed by Vivek Ramaswamy.

How the AP called Trump the winner of Iowa’s caucuses

DES MOINES — The Associated Press declared Trump the winner of the Iowa caucuses based on an analysis of early returns as well as results of AP VoteCast, a survey of voters who planned to caucus on Monday night. Both showed Trump with an insurmountable lead.

Initial results from eight counties showed Trump with far more than half of the total votes counted as of 8:31 pm. ET, with the rest of the field trailing far behind. These counties include rural areas that are demographically and politically similar to a large number of counties that have yet to report.

AP VoteCast also shows Trump with sizable leads among both men and women, as well as every age group and geographic regions throughout the state.

AP VoteCast is a survey conducted by the AP−NORC Center for Public Affairs Research of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa.

Among voters who identify as born−again Christians, the survey found that Trump was favored by 58% voters intending to caucus, compared to 18% for DeSantis and 13% for Nikki Haley. Polls showed that was a relatively weak group of backers for Trump in Iowa in 2016.

So far, Trump is significantly outperforming his second−place 2016 caucus finish, when he received 24% of the vote, compared to 28% for Ted Cruz.

Trump wins Iowa’s first−in−the−nation GOP caucuses

CLIVE — Trump has won Iowa’s leadoff presidential caucuses, giving him a strong start in the race for the 2024 Republican nomination.

His rivals are jostling for second place, hoping for a bump heading into New Hampshire’s first−in−the−nation primary on Jan. 23.

Trump and Hutchinson woo voters at the same caucus site

CLIVE — There are hundreds of caucus sites in Iowa. But Trump, the presumed front−runner, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is barely registering in the polls, both ended up at the same caucus site.

“We’re trusting you, Iowa, to get it right,” Hutchinson said, addressing several hundred voters at the Horizon Events Center in Clive.

Trump was holding backstage as Hutchinson spoke.

Ramaswamy is hustling for support at a caucus site

CLIVE — Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is working until the last minute to round up votes.

He stopped by a caucus site in suburban Des Moines, telling voters, “I’d love to earn your support tonight.”

He fielded questions and compliments from a steady stream of voters lining up to speak with him or snap a selfie.

“I’m Jamie, and I just want to say congrats on a wonderfully run campaign,” one voter told him.

To another voter who sounded a little skeptical of him, Ramaswamy said, “We need someone with fresh legs” and said he’d fire most of the federal workforce.

“My parents came to this country the right way, too,” he told one person. “That’s what makes this country great.”

How Iowa Republican caucusgoers see Haley and DeSantis

DES MOINES — Among Iowa Republicans, Haley is something of an anti−Trump option, even though she was his U.N. ambassador.

She is the top candidate of GOP caucusgoers who say Trump did something illegal when it comes to at least one of the criminal cases against him, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa.

Among those who say they are caucusing for Haley, about 4 in 10 voted for Democrat Joe Biden over Trump in 2020.

Meanwhile, DeSantis performs best among the caucusgoers who are dissatisfied with Trump but say they would ultimately vote for him in the general election, according to AP VoteCast. DeSantis’ supporters are more likely than those for other candidates to say they think abortion should always be illegal.

He performs better than Haley does among those who describe themselves as conservative.

Most Iowa GOP caucusgoers back Trump’s MAGA movement

DES MOINES — The majority of Iowa Republican caucusgoers believe in the need to “Make America Great Again,” a sign of how Trump and his political movement have transformed a state party that denied him a victory eight years ago.

That’s according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa. The survey was conducted by The Associated Press−NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The findings suggest that Trump is in a strong position as the caucuses began. He shows significant strength among urban, small town and rural communities. Trump also performs well with evangelical Christians and those without a college degree. One relative weakness for Trump comes in the suburbs, where only about 4 in 10 support him.

Coldest Iowa caucuses on record are now underway

DES MOINES — Iowa Republicans have gathered at caucus meetings across the state to pick their next GOP presidential nominee.

The coldest first−in−the−nation Iowa caucuses on record kicked off Monday night at minus−3 degrees Fahrenheit in the capital city, with the wind chill making it feel like minus−20, according to the National Weather Service.

In the 2016 GOP caucuses, the AP first reported results at 8:32 p.m. ET, or 32 minutes after the caucuses convened. The caucus night tabulation ended at 12:50 a.m. ET with 99.9% of total votes counted.

Meatball Ron? Day One Dic−Tater? Iowa restaurant gets in on caucus fun

DES MOINES — Zombie Burger rolled out a special menu in time for Iowa’s first−in−the−nation voting contest.

The quirky restaurant posted on its Instagram page that customers can “celebrate the circus with these featured shakes + ONE−DAY−ONLY burgers at Zombie Burger!”

The special on Jan. 12 was Mom−Aswamy’s Spaghetti burger, a smashed vegetarian meatball patty, fried spaghetti and marinara croquette with mozzarella in honor of Vivek Ramaswamy.

On Jan. 13, diners could nosh on Meatball Ron, a double smashed meatball patty with mozzarella, fried banana peppers, marinara and a “hidden” garlic bread lift — inspired by DeSantis.

The meal of the day for Jan. 14 was American History 101, featuring a double pimento cheese patty, pulled pork, pulled bacon, fried okra and Carolina Gold sauce. The Carolina Gold sauce was a giveaway for Haley.

And on caucus night itself, customers could dig into a Day One Dic−Tater, with Flamin’ Hot Cheeto orange kielbasa sausage, Jack cheese, tater rounds, housemade sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Trump recently vowed to only be a dictator on “day one” of his next term.

And throughout, diners had the choice of two special drinks: a Sleepy Joe shake or a Dark Brandon shake, both available with an alcohol option.

Haley wins over an undecided caucusgoer

NEWTON — Haley is making her case to some last−minute undecided caucusgoers — and winning over at least one.

During her third stop of a final pre−caucus push in PB’s Pub, Haley asked for a showing of hands from those who hadn’t yet made up their minds.

“We’ve got one guy,” she said, seeing Chris Varney raise his hand in the back.

After giving brief remarks and telling Iowans that “It’s go time," Varney got a chance to speak with Haley.

“OK, she got me,” Varney said, prompting cheers from other attendees.

Eric Trump predicts ‘great night’ for his father

DES MOINES — The former president’s son is calling it now: It will be a “great night” for Team Trump.

He told The Associated Press hours before Iowa’s kickoff caucuses: "Everywhere I show up, there’s hundreds and hundreds of people, and they’re all wearing the Make America Great Again hats and carrying American flags.”

He says, “I think we’re going to have a great night."

He says that he’s seen tremendous enthusiasm across the state for his father and that Republican voters are eager for a return to Trump’s policies.

Waiting for DeSantis but leaning toward other candidates

CEDAR RAPIDS — A few hours before the caucuses, Iowa Republican Steve Kessler sat in a sports bar awaiting an appearance by DeSantis, but he was still undecided about whom he would support.

“I like to take my time,” the 65−year−old retired electrical engineer said at Jerseys Pub & Grub.

But it wasn’t looking good for DeSantis.

“My heart is with Vivek because of his rambunctiousness," Kessler said. "But I’m tempted to vote for Nikki to show my anti−Trump feelings.”

Why not DeSantis? “He’s not that charismatic,” he said. “But I figured I should see him before I go to caucus.”

Kessler was headed straight from the DeSantis event to his caucus site in Coralville, about 30 miles south of Cedar Rapids.

Iowa GOP caucusgoers say no to the status quo

DES MOINES — Iowa GOP caucusgoers want sweeping changes to how the federal government is run, according to AP VoteCast.

About 3 in 10 say they are seeking a complete and total upheaval. An additional 6 in 10 caucusgoers say they want substantial changes.

Most caucusgoers trust Iowa elections, but about 4 in 10 are not too confident or not at all confident in the integrity of U.S. elections. Nearly 6 in 10 have little to no confidence in the U.S. legal system.

Most Iowa GOP caucusgoers are unbothered by charges against Trump

DES MOINES — The criminal charges against Trump have done little damage to his reputation among Republicans headed to Monday night’s Iowa caucuses, according to AP VoteCast.

About three−quarters of caucusgoers say the charges are political attempts to undermine him, rather than legitimate attempts to investigate important issues.

Still, about a quarter say Trump has done something illegal when it comes to at least one of the ongoing legal cases he’s facing: his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, his alleged attempts to interfere in the vote count in the 2020 presidential election or the discovery of classified documents at his Florida home that were supposed to be in government custody.

Top issues for Iowa GOP caucusgoers: Immigration, economy

DES MOINES — About 4 in 10 GOP caucusgoers say immigration is the most important issue facing the country, according to AP VoteCast.

About one−third said it was the economy. Fewer people named other priorities, including foreign policy, health care, abortion or energy.

AP VoteCast is a survey of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa, conducted by The Associated Press−NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The vast majority – 7 in 10 – said immigrants were a negative for the country, an indication that they’re not only seeking more order on the U.S. southern border but major cuts on how many foreigners can come into the country.

42−year−old Iowan plans to caucus for the first time

FORT DODGE — Melanie Klaassen, 42, plans to participate in her first caucuses on Monday night.

She and her husband, Michael, were among an engaged crowd of Trump supporters at ShinyTop Brewing who gathered to see surrogates of the former president.

The farmers from Pomeroy supported Trump in 2016 but went to their first rally in 2020 out of “curiosity,” she said. They found camaraderie there with people from “all walks of life,” Melanie said, who had been stereotyped as “bad, backwards people.”

“We’ve always voted, but we didn’t care either way how it turned out,” she said. That’s changed since Trump. “It feels like our voices really matter more," she said.

‘The world is counting on Iowa,’ Kari Lake says

FORT DODGE — Dozens of Trump supporters are gathered at ShinyTop Brewing to get up close and personal with some of the former president’s best−known endorsers, including Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, as well as U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake of Arizona.

“I want to tell you how much the world is counting on Iowa tonight,” Lake told the crowd. She added: “What you’re going to do tonight is you’re going to help save this world."

Iowa voter wants to size up Haley before ca

ucuses

PELLA — Some voters are still waiting to get the right impression from candidates just hours before the caucuses.

Darla De Haan said Monday as she ate lunch at The Bread Board that she had Nikki Haley at the top of her list but wanted to hear from the candidate in person. Haley was set to appear later Monday afternoon at the Pella restaurant.

De Haan, a psychotherapist, said that she had not caucused in years but was looking forward to participating this time.

“For me, it’s really about character,” De Haan said. “I want to see people who have integrity, who keep their word. … I kind of get a sense when you’re around someone, if they’re going to do what they say.”

De Haan said she had not seen other 2024 candidates as they have campaigned through Iowa over the past year but was interested to hear what Haley had to say during her round of closing arguments to the state’s caucusgoers.

‘It’s caucus day. Get excited!’ Haley tells supporters

DES MOINES — Dozens of people packed into a diner near Drake University as they waited for Haley.

“It’s caucus day. Get excited!” Haley said to a crowd of several dozen, many of whom drank coffee from cups festooned with “Pick Nikki” stickers.

Speaking directly to those serving as caucus captains, Haley asked them to “speak from the heart” in their Monday night speeches.

The GOP candidate plans to make several stops in central Iowa ahead of Monday night’s votes, including making an appearance at a caucus location before heading to her campaign celebration.

Trump starts caucus day by trash−talking rivals

DES MOINES — Trump is stepping up his attacks against his rivals on the morning of Iowa’s kickoff caucuses.

On his Truth Social site, Trump is knocking Haley, his former U.N. ambassador, as “an unwanted Globalist” and calling her “weak on the Border."

Trump is also going after Vivek Ramaswamy, the tech entrepreneur who has run as a steward of his Make America Great Again movement.

“A vote for Vivek is a wasted vote,” Trump wrote in all caps. “I like Vivek, but he played it too ‘cute’ with us. Caucus tonight, vote for Donald J. Trump, build up the numbers!!!”

Trump spent much of the race praising Ramaswamy for saying nice things about him. But Trump turned on him this week after Ramaswamy posted a photo of himself posing with supporters wearing “Save Trump, vote Vivek” T−shirts.

The Associated Press

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