The Republican Iowa caucus results are in and Senator Ted Cruz has beaten billionaire Donald Trump.
As it has appeared in the nationwide polls, first time voters and voters who were fed up with politics as usual played a big part in last night’s contest.
Cruz’s first place finish wasn’t reflected in the pre-caucus polling, which showed Trump in first place in the last eight polls. Cruz, despite being a sitting U.S. senator, is considered by many to be an outsider due to his willingness to stand against his own party.
In his victory speech, Cruz called his win “a victory for courageous conservatives all across Iowa and all across this great nation.”
Cruz reaffirmed his outsider status to his supporters gathered in Des Moines.
“Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media,” Cruz said.
In his caucus night speech, Trump spun his second place finish in Iowa by saying that when he started his campaign, advisers told him not to go to Iowa because he “could never finish in the top 10” out of the then-17 candidates.
“We finished second, and I want to tell you something,” Trump said. “I’m just honored. I’m really honored.”
Trump, who skipped last week’s debate after resuming his feud with Fox News, reassured his supporters that he wasn’t done fighting yet.
“We will go on to get the Republican nomination and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there,” Trump said before thanking the people of Iowa. “Iowa, we love you, we thank you, you’re special. We will be back many, many times. In fact, I think I might come here and buy a farm. I love it.”
The other big winner in the GOP field was Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who won third place, just less than 2,500 votes behind national frontrunner Trump.
“For months, they told us we had no chance,” Rubio said in his caucus night speech. “They told me I had to wait my turn, that I had to wait in line.”
A first-term senator, Rubio hopes to straddle the line between the outsider and establishment candidates. He faces an uphill battle against a crowded establishment field in New Hampshire next week.
Mike Huckabee suspended his campaign last night after nabbing just 2 percent of the vote. The former Arkansas governor won the Iowa caucuses in 2008 on a wave of evangelical voters that year. This time around, those voters seemed to have other favorite candidates.