Iowa caucuses 2024 live: Trump ramps up attacks on Haley and DeSantis; Harris says Republicans pose ‘profound threat’ to freedom

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Iowa caucuses 2024 live: Trump ramps up attacks on Haley and DeSantis; Harris says Republicans pose ‘profound threat’ to freedom

Trump wins the Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, AP projects

The caucuses kicked off just 30 minutes ago, but the Associated Press has already made its call for Donald Trump.

A person votes for Donald Trump at a caucus site in Ames.
A person votes for Donald Trump at a caucus site in Ames. Photograph: Cheney Orr/Reuters

There’s no surprise – Trump has been by far the frontrunner. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are in a high-stakes fight for second place. How big Trump’s victory is, and how closely behind Haley and DeSantis trail could set the tone for how the rest of the primaries pan out.

Donald Trump won by a landslide in Iowa Monday, with Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley trailing in a distant second and third place, respectively. The former president’s victory was so clear and decisive that the Associated Press projected his win just 30 minutes after the caucuses began – much to the ire of DeSantis.

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  • A jubilant Trump offered an unusually conciliatory call for unity in his speech Monday night. “I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together,” he said. He also celebrated poll findings that the majority of Iowa Republics did not accept the validity of the 2020 election results.

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  • Delegates will be allocated proportionally, once all the votes from across the state have been tabulated. But the night’s results are a big blow to both DeSantis and Haley. The former, especially, invested massive amounts of time and effort in the state, visiting all 99 of Iowa’s counties.

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  • DeSantis told supporters at his watch party Monday night, “I can tell you because of your support, in spite of all of that, that they threw at us – everyone against us – we’ve got our ticket punched out of Iowa.” Haley, meanwhile, insisted that this was a “two-person race” between her and Trump.

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  • Vivek Ramaswamy finished fourth and ended his campaign, endorsing Trump as he bowed out.

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  • Frigid conditions and chilly winds, which the National Weather Service said made for dangerous conditions across the state, may have impacted turnout, which is estimated to be notably lower than 2016.

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The Florida governor has finished a “distant second” to Donald Trump, the Associated Press projects. Nikki Haley is expected to come third.

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“There’s no path for me to be the next president absent things that we don’t want to see happen in this country,” Vivek Ramaswamy told supporters in Des Moines.

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He reflected on his candidacy. “Nobody knew who we were, nobody knew what we were up to, but together, we have created a movement that I think is going to carry our nation to the next level,” he says.

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He endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency.

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Donald Trump is addressing a cheering crowd in Des Moines. “I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together,” he said.

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David Erlacher hadn’t made up his mind about who he was going to caucus for when he showed up to a Cedar Rapids brewery to hear Ron DeSantis speak on Sunday afternoon. But inside his jacket pocket was a handwritten list of issues that mattered most to him.

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At the top was the economy, followed by the southern border. He then listed a series of foreign policy conflicts, including the Houthi attacks in Yemen, the war in Israel, and the war between Ukraine and Russia.

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“The world’s a dumpster fire right now,” Erlacher, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in Cedar Rapids, said. “We got to try and find some water to throw on it. I’m not sure how that’s gonna happen. I’m just glad there’s smarter people than myself out there to do it.”

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Those three priorities – the economy, the border and international instability – echoed what many Iowa voters said were their top issues as they prepared to caucus in the US’s first nominating contest on Monday, with Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and DeSantis at the top. A November Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll found that 81% of likely caucusgoers listed the economy as a “very important issue” and 80% of caucusgoers listed “immigration and border security as “very important issues” in the same poll.

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Concerns over the economy underscore a significant challenge for Joe Biden as he seeks a second term. Traditional metrics have shown that the US economy is strong, but nearly two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with it, according to a September Harris survey conducted by the Guardian.

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Kevin Hochstedler, 65, who works in home construction in Iowa City, was one of several voters who said his top issues were “number one the economy, number two, southern border”. Hochstedler, who planned to caucus for Haley, said he had seen a huge slowdown in his industry. He blamed the federal reserve for raising interest rates too quickly.

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“The economy is slowing, slowing, slowing, it’s like a giant sucking sound,” Hochstedler said at a Saturday event for Haley, whom he planned to support on Monday.

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Hochstedler was one of several voters who said they were outraged by Biden’s handling of migrants at the US-Mexico border. He said he supported the state of Texas in an ongoing dispute with the Biden administration over policing the border. “If I were governor of Texas, I’d call in the national guard, block it all off and keep the people in Mexico.”

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The DeSantis campaign isn’t too happy with the AP’s call in favor of Trump.

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“It is absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote,” said DeSantis communications director Andrew Romeo. “The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet.”

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(To be clear: the AP’s projection in favor of Trump does not amount to interference, and was based on polls and early results.)

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The Trump camp is celebrating a victory.

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“The people of Iowa sent a clear message tonight: Donald Trump will be the next Republican nominee for President. It’s now time to make him the next president of the United States,” said Alex Pfeiffer, communications director for Make America Great Again Inc, the Super Pac backing Trump. “It’s time for Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy to face reality and stop wasting time and resources.”

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The caucuses kicked off just 30 minutes ago, but the Associated Press has already made its call for Donald Trump.

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There’s no surprise – Trump has been by far the frontrunner. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are in a high-stakes fight for second place. How big Trump’s victory is, and how closely behind Haley and DeSantis trail could set the tone for how the rest of the primaries pan out.

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On a night when the 2024 race for the White House gets under way, some people are already talking about 2028.

At a Trump campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa, a voter asked Donald Trump Jr if he would consider a run next time. His girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle exclaimed: “Oh, god.” Don Jr, 46, looked over at her and shouted: “Hey, princess, you ready for this?” She replied: “Let’s go, Iowa!”

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Don Jr then told the audience of 62 seated supporters: “You never know. Listen, I don’t want to say no because then if you decide to do it, like, ‘Oh, my God, he’s a major liar’, you know… I guess the answer is I will continue to fight no matter what. The question is do you want the day job of actually doing it?”

Another voter asked Don Jr if he believes his father was anointed by God. Trump’s eldest son replied: “That’s not for me to decide. There’s a higher power that decides that. But I’ll say he’s fought for this country where he’s taking on forces that probably no one else has, certainly in modern history, and I think he’s delivered accordingly.”

Arriving two and a half hours late because of a weather delayed flight, Don Jr endorsed “great replacement theory”, arguing that Democrats are deliberately importing people more likely to vote for them. “There’s literally more illegal immigrants coming across our border now on an annualised basis than there are babies born in America,” he said. “That’s not racist; it’s just statistics and facts.”

He also took swipes at his father’s rivals in the Iowa caucuses. “Who here thinks it’s acceptable for men to be wearing high heels while running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States?” he asked in a clear dig at Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has faced claims that he wears heel lifts to make him look taller.

“Nikki Haley has never met a war she didn’t want to be in,” Don Jr added. “We would be fighting, like, a 30-front war.”

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The caucuses are now under way, with Donald Trump widely expected to be declared the winner.

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Voters are gathering at schools, steakhouses, churches, and even living rooms and grain elevators to decide the Republican presidential nominee. Today marks the first round of voting in the 2024 presidential primary.

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Eligible voters, who have braved brutally cold conditions today to show up at their caucus location, will discuss candidates and issues with their neighbors. Representatives will speak up in behalf of their preferred candidates.

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Within an hour or so, caucusgoers write their preferred candidate’s name on a slip of paper and hand it to the caucus chair of the caucus, who tallies the votes and release results to the state party, which will tally all the results. Candidates are then assigned delegates to the Republican national convention proportional to their share of the statewide votes.

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First results are expected before 9pm ET.

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Trump is in Iowa, where he expects to see a sizable victory tonight. The former US president, who is running for a second term, was pictured leaving a meeting with advisers in Des Moines – hours before caucus votes were due to begin.

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On Saturday, when he arrived, he acknowledged he worried that the weather could affect turnout, though he noted that Trump supporters were passionate.

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He rallied supporters on Sunday night in Indianola, Iowa, telling them they needed to show up Monday no matter what.

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“You can’t sit home,” Trump said. “If you’re sick as a dog, you say ‘Darling, I gotta make it.’ Even if you vote and then pass away, it’s worth it.”

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Trump meets campaign advisers in Des Moines”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 16 Jan 2024 00.24 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Mon 15 Jan 2024 05.58 EST”},{“id”:”65a5aeb08f08841867192f91″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The caucuses are set to begin in two hours, kicking off the 2024 election season in the US. Trump is expected to win handily, though the weather will prove the ultimate wild card.

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Here’s where things stand:

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    n

  • It is very cold. The frigid, snow-filled state has seemed dormant the last few days, mostly because people are quickly running in and out of buildings to escape the cold. Candidates still hosted events around the state on Monday to snag last-minute votes.

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  • The caucus begins at precinct sites around the state at 7pm CT (8pm ET). Voters will stream into their local school gyms or community centers, where caucus captains volunteering for candidates will try to whip voters to their side. Results will be posted on this website as they come in.

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  • Who’s going to show up? The extreme cold could affect whose voters turn out to caucus. Some parts of the state still have snow-covered or icy roads. Low turnout could boost candidates polling lower if Trump supporters think their votes won’t be needed to ensure a victory.

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  • After former president and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump attacked Republican candidates Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy on Monday, Haley called Trump’s insults “fake news” while Ramaswamy refused to insult the former president in return.

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  • Democrats – including Illinois governor JB Pritzker and Minnesota senator Tina Smith – held a press conference in Iowa with Joe Biden re-election campaign surrogates, who denounced the Republican candidates as extremists.

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  • Vice-President Kamala Harris spoke in South Carolina, Democrats’ first primary state, at a Martin Luther King Jr day event, where she recalled King’s words and said Republicans served as a threat to freedoms like reproductive rights and access to education.

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  • It is MLK day, a federal holiday honoring the civil rights leader. Republicans set their caucus date without regard for the holiday, though the Iowa GOP leader said he believes holding the caucus on the holiday honors King.

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  • This is the true start of the 2024 election. Depending on tonight’s results, some Republican candidates could decide to end their campaigns and throw their support toward someone else. Or they could all continue, discounting the role of one rural midwestern state in the country’s politics.

  • n

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Donald Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle are in Ankeny, Iowa, telling voters they need to show up tonight to support Trump Sr, despite the frigid weather.

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Guilfoyle laid out the high stakes for the election, saying Trump is the only choice to get the country back on track and that the country will be unrecognizable if Trump doesn’t take back the White House.

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Trump Jr took jabs at Nikki Haley, Trump’s closest competitor, and said people needed to vote tonight despite Trump polling well ahead.

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“They’re trying desperately to suppress the vote by saying you have it in the bag,” he said.

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Trump Jr urges Iowa voters to show up for Trump despite cold”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 16 Jan 2024 00.24 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Mon 15 Jan 2024 05.58 EST”},{“id”:”65a5a3848f08841867192f5b”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Vice-President Kamala Harris said “freedom is under profound threat” in a speech in South Carolina to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr Day.

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The vice-president spoke as Republicans campaigned around Iowa in the final push to sway voters before the caucus began this evening. Democrats aren’t holding an Iowa caucus this year, after shifting their calendar to make South Carolina the first official primary because Iowa and New Hampshire’s voters don’t represent the diversity of the party. Republicans set their Iowa caucus on MLK day to maintain its status as the first election contest, but the fact that it was a federal holiday didn’t seem to enter into the decision.

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Harris cited MLK’s iconic “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, where the civil rights leader wrote that “the goal of America is freedom”.

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“And so, as we gather to honor his legacy, I pose a question I believe Dr. King would today ask: In 2024, where exactly is America in our fight for freedom?…As Vice President of the United States, I’d say: At this moment, in America, freedom is under profound threat,” she said.

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Speaking at an NAACP event, Harris sought to make the case that supporting Democrats in this year’s elections would protect freedoms in the wake of attacks on reproductive rights, book bans and voting rights. She implored attendees to join the fight against these restrictions by voting blue in 2024.

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“This generation now has fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers,” she said. “It is not hypothetical that from kindergarten to 12th grade, this generation has had to endure active shooter drills. Our children, who should be in a classroom fulfilling their God-given potential and exploring their wonder for the beauty of the world, instead have to worry that someone might burst through their classroom door with a gun. It is not hypothetical. When students go to vote, they often have to wait in line for hours because of laws that intentionally make it more difficult for them to cast a ballot.”

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Harris warns of Republicans posing ‘profound threat’ to freedoms”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 16 Jan 2024 00.24 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Mon 15 Jan 2024 05.58 EST”},{“id”:”65a599a28f0867bef96c744e”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The Illinois governor, JB Pritzker, is up at the podium first, and saying that all Republican candidates competing in tonight’s caucus are ignoring the country’s needs and espousing extremist policies. Pritzker said:

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n

Here we stand on Martin Luther King Jr Day, and this field of candidates is espousing Adolf Hitler’s ideas, denying that … the civil war was about slavery, or demonizing and discounting the rights of large groups of Americans. All of these Republican candidates are singing the same, terrible song.

n

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In an apparent reference to Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and sole woman in the Republican race, and the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, who has been accused of wearing footwear that boosts his stature, Pritzker said:

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n

Tonight’s contest is simply a question of whether you like your Maga Trump agenda wrapped in the original packaging with high heels, or with lifts in their boots.

n

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“,”url”:”https://twitter.com/ChrisJStein/status/1746995753635963038″,”id”:”1746995753635963038″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”c987151a-9c95-4b84-ac2d-b322dc79949d”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1705351586000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”15.46 EST”,”blockLastUpdated”:1705352430000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”16.00 EST”,”blockFirstPublished”:1705351644000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”15.47 EST”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”15.47″,”title”:”Republican candidates espousing extremist ideas, Illinois governor tells Iowa Democratic event”,”contributors”:[{“name”:”Chris Stein”,”imageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/05/25/Chris_Stein.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=816e271eec6598b9b8784a001bf54a35″,”largeImageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/05/25/Chris_Stein.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=5829f7087d8175b610aa897c2d8ded33″}],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 16 Jan 2024 00.24 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Mon 15 Jan 2024 05.58 EST”},{“id”:”65a594ef8f0867bef96c742d”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Precinct captains in Iowa will try to persuade caucus voters tonight to pick their preferred candidate, a practice common to the Iowa caucuses but not typical of US elections otherwise.

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Candidates work to have volunteer caucus captains at all precinct voting sites, usually local schools or community gathering places. Those captains whip votes at the precinct, speechifying and debating with voters who are unsure who to vote for or could be swayed from one candidate to another.

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Outside the caucus process, it’s usually illegal to actively campaign at a polling site.

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This year, Trump’s precinct captains are donning white hats with “Trump Caucus Captain” written in gold lettering. The hats were given to 2,000 caucus captains and have become “the hottest item in Maga world”, Politico reported.

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The precinct captains, while their role is important on caucus day, are typically regular Iowa voters who volunteer to help their preferred candidate because they’re passionate about that person winning. They’re often seen as people who can influence their neighbors at the hyperlocal precinct sites.

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Sometimes, the New York Times writes in its feature about caucus captains, the captains can be more high-profile. “One of Ron DeSantis’s captains is a former co-chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, and one of Nikki Haley’s is a state senator,” the paper notes.

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Nikki Haley has dismissed Donald Trump’s comments earlier today that she is a “Globalist Rino” and “doesn’t have Maga”.

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“Donald Trump knows Nikki Haley is a strong conservative who he praises repeatedly for her toughness at the United Nations,” said a national spokesperson for Haley, Olivia Perez-Cubas.

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n

Now that Nikki is surging and Trump is dropping, his campaign is flinging phony, contradictory attacks. Don’t believe the fake news from Trump world – they don’t believe it themselves.

n

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It’s a bracing day in Iowa as the caucus gatherings approach later on Monday, and there are other items of US politics news occurring too, all brought to you as they happen. We are here, live, to bring you all the events.

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Here’s where things stand:

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    n

  • Economy, border, foreign policy are key issues as Iowans head to caucus, with Republican voters in the Hawkeye state saying these themes are top of mind as they prepare to caucus tonight in the US’s first nominating contest.

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  • Donald Trump has stepped up his attacks on Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis on the morning of the day Iowans go to vote on their Republican candidate.

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  • The Pentagon said the US defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, has been released from hospital today. Austin, 70, had been hospitalized since 1 January due to complications after prostate cancer treatment, but there was uproar because he didn’t tell the White House (or many others) about it.

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  • Iowa Republicans will brave brutally cold temperatures on Monday evening to participate in the state’s presidential caucuses, as Donald Trump remains the clear frontrunner in the race for his party’s nomination. The final results will depend on turnout, which could be acutely impacted by the weather.

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  • Iowans have been told to “limit outdoor exposure” as much as possible with forecasters saying the wind chill temperature could go down to as low as -35F on Monday evening in the “dangerous cold”.

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  • The 2024 US presidential election begins in earnest in Iowa today. The final Des Moines Register/NBC News poll before Monday night’s caucuses found former president, Donald Trump, maintaining a formidable lead over his opponents, supported by 48% of likely caucus-goers. After trailing the two-term Florida governor, Ron DeSantis for months, the latest poll showed Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, in second place in Iowa, winning the support of 20% of likely Republican caucus-goers, compared to DeSantis’s 16%, with Vivek Ramaswamy at 8%.

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David Erlacher hadn’t made up his mind about who he was going to caucus for when he showed up to a Cedar Rapids brewery to hear Ron DeSantis speak on Sunday afternoon. But inside his jacket pocket was a handwritten list of issues that mattered most to him.

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At the top was the economy, followed by the southern border. He then listed a series of foreign policy conflicts, including the Houthi attacks in Yemen, the war in Israel, and the war between Ukraine and Russia.

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“The world’s a dumpster fire right now,” Erlacher, a 76-year-old retiree who lives in Cedar Rapids, said.

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We got to try and find some water to throw on it. I’m not sure how that’s gonna happen. I’m just glad there’s smarter people than myself out there to do it.

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Those three priorities – the economy, the border and international instability – echoed what many Iowa voters said were their top issues as they prepare to caucus in the US’s first nominating contest on Monday, with Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and DeSantis at the top. A November Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll found that 81% of likely caucus-goers listed the economy as a “very important issue” and 80% of caucus-goers listed “immigration and border security as “very important issues” in the same poll.

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Concerns over the economy underscore a significant challenge for Joe Biden as he seeks a second term. Traditional metrics have shown that the US economy is strong, but nearly two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with it, according to a September Harris survey conducted by the Guardian.

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Donald Trump stepped up attacks against his rivals on Monday morning ahead of tonight’s caucuses in Iowa.

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On his Truth Social site, Trump knocked his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, as “Globalist Rino” (short for Republican In Name Only) who is “weak on the Border, and will always be willing to obliterate Social Security and Medicare, while at the same time raising your taxes”.

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Trump also described voting for Vivek Ramaswamy as a “wasted vote”, adding that the tech entrepreneur conducted “deceitful campaign tricks” and “played it too ‘cute’ with us”.

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The Pentagon said the US defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, has been released from hospital today.

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Austin, 70, had been hospitalized since 1 January due to complications after prostate cancer treatment.

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He had been admitted to Walter Reed national military medical center in Washington on 22 December and underwent surgery to treat the cancer. He was hospitalized again to treat a urinary tract infection related to that operation.

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Doctors said he remained in the hospital due to ongoing leg pain resulting from the infection and so he could get physical therapy.

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Austin is expected to perform his duties remotely before returning full-time to the Pentagon.

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Austin released from hospital, says Pentagon”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 16 Jan 2024 00.24 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Mon 15 Jan 2024 05.58 EST”},{“id”:”65a54e0d8f08fbde1fb01889″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Iowa winners don’t always go on to be nominees – or presidents.

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Among the Democrats, the last winner of a competitive Iowa caucus was Pete Buttigieg, then the little-known mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He ended up endorsing Joe Biden, his reward a cabinet post. Before that, in 2008, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton narrowly in Iowa and went on to the White House. In 2004, John Kerry beat John Edwards and won the nomination but lost the general election. In 2000, Al Gore won Iowa and the nomination but lost the White House to George W Bush.

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Of late, fewer Republicans have won Iowa and the nomination. In 2016, Ted Cruz lost the nomination to Trump. In 2012, Rick Santorum won Iowa but lost the nomination to Mitt Romney. In 2008, Mike Huckabee beat Romney but John McCain, fourth in Iowa, became the nominee. In 2000, George W Bush – a rare candidate with appeal both to evangelicals and moderates – was a clear winner on his way to the White House.

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So losers in Iowa can very much go on to win the race elsewhere. As Tom Beaumont of the Associated Press explains, for Iowa Republicans this year:

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n

Donald Trump remains the dominant frontrunner [and] the race is essentially for second place. Nikki Haley is in the race for second place in Iowa. Should Haley beat Ron DeSantis, that would almost certainly signal the end of the DeSantis campaign and provide a lift to Haley, who is stronger than any other [non-Trump] candidate in New Hampshire.

n

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The 2024 US presidential election begins in earnest in Iowa on Monday, as Republicans in the midwestern state stage their caucuses, events through which their preferred nominee is selected. The process is hallowed but arcane. Here’s an attempt to explain.

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What is a caucus?

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Merriam-Webster, “America’s Most Trusted Dictionary”, defines a caucus thus:

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n

A closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy.

n

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David Yepsen, a doyen of Iowa political journalism, boils it down:

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n

A caucus – it’s a neighbourhood meeting.

n

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And as Tom Beaumont of the Associated Press explains, more than 1,600 such meetings will take place on Monday, “one for every precinct in the state”.

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Either which way, it’s not a primary, the straight-vote contest held by most states, starting in New Hampshire next week.

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How does a caucus work?

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In Iowa, Republican and Democratic caucuses work differently. Now, after chaos and confusion in 2020, Democrats have made changes: they will meet on caucus day and conduct political business, but their choice for president will be made by mail and announced later.

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Republicans are going ahead as usual. That means participants will gather in each precinct – usually a school, community center or similar venue – at 7pm local time (8pm ET) on Monday.

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Eligible voters, who must be registered Republicans, check in to the caucus and then start discussing candidates and issues with their neighbors. As Beaumont said, some also “stand up and speak on behalf of the candidates”. Within an hour or so, the caucusgoers write their choice of candidate on a slip of paper and hand it to the chair of the caucus, who then tallies the votes and submits them to the state party. The state party counts and releases the results, usually within a few hours.

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Each precinct is then assigned a number of delegates based on the results. Ultimately, 40 delegates from Iowa will go to the Republican national convention, where the presidential nominee for the party is chosen.

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In terms of the presidential race, the person with the most votes “wins” Iowa. In practice, delegates to a state convention are awarded on a proportionate basis, so everyone “wins” – in a way.

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Iowa Republicans will brave brutally cold temperatures on Monday evening to participate in the state’s presidential caucuses, as Donald Trump remains the clear frontrunner in the race for his party’s nomination.

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The final results will depend on turnout, which could be acutely impacted by the weather. After a blizzard swept through Iowa on Friday, many roads remained covered in snow as temperatures dropped well below freezing.

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Trump acknowledged on Saturday that he was concerned about the weather affecting caucus turnout but expressed confidence in his supporters’ dedication.

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“It’s going to be cold. It’s not going to be pleasant,” DeSantis said at a campaign event in West Des Moines on Saturday.

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n

If you’re willing to brave the elements and be there for the couple hours that you have to be there, if you’re willing to do that and you’re willing to fight for me on Monday night, then as president I’ll be fighting for you for the next eight years.

n

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Even as the National Weather Service warned of “life-threatening” cold, Iowa voters largely shrugged off questions about how they would reach their caucus sites.

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“People in the country live like this all the time,” said Abbey Sindt, a caucus-goer who attended Haley’s town hall in Ames on Sunday. “So it’s really not that big of a deal, in my opinion.”

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Max Richardson, who also attended the town hall, agreed with Sindt, saying,

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n

Everyone’s shoveled out. Everyone’s getting the ice melt down. It’s just a question of, can you get the car there?

n

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Haley, DeSantis in big test in freezing Iowa”,”contributors”:[{“name”:”Joan E Greve”,”imageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/05/25/Joan_Greve.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=8fb2a7cdd798189ef4e496b912c21db0″,”largeImageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/05/25/Joan_Greve.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=d282ed49d456148cb21b98feb83c79b7″}],”primaryDateLine”:”Tue 16 Jan 2024 00.24 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Mon 15 Jan 2024 05.58 EST”},{“id”:”65a5308e8f08edc701f75c91″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Donald Trump looks set to win Iowa’s first-in-nation vote in the Republican presidential nomination race by a record margin tonight.

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A final poll by renowned Iowa pollster Ann Selzer published on Saturday night shows the former president holding a nearly 30-point lead over his rivals.

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The final NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll before today’s GOP caucuses shows Trump with the support of 48% of likely caucus-goers, followed by Nikki Haley at 20%, Ron DeSantis at 16% and Vivek Ramaswamy at 8%.

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If Trump’s current lead holds, it would be the largest margin of victory for a non-incumbent competing in Iowa’s Republican presidential caucuses. The current record margin, 13 points, was set by Bob Dole in 1988.

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Iowans have been told to “limit outdoor exposure” as much as possible with forecasters saying the wind chill temperature could go down to as low as -35F on Monday evening in the “dangerous cold”.

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The life-threatening cold blanketing the midwest, which already forced the campaigns to cancel several events over the weekend, could lead to a lower turnout later today.

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Unlike a regular election, Iowa’s caucuses require voters to gather in person.

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Monday has been forecast to potentially be a record cold caucus night with temperatures as low as -20F (-29C). Biting winds could make it feel as cold as -45F in some places.

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Data from the National Weather Service indicates that the coldest caucus before this year was in 2004, when temperatures did not rise above 16 degrees.

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US president, Joe Biden, and the Democratic National Committee have said they raised more than $97m (£76m) in the final three months of last year.

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The Biden campaign said it took in $235m (£185m) from its launch last April until the end of 2023 and finished the year with $117m (£92m) in cash on hand – which it said was the highest total amassed by any Democratic candidate at this point in the cycle.

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It added that over 520,000 donors made 926,000-plus contributions in the last quarter of 2023.

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Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the Biden-Harris 2024 campaign manager, said:

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n

This historic haul- proudly powered by strong and growing grassroots enthusiasm – sends a clear message: the team Biden-Harris coalition knows the stakes of this election and is ready to win this November.

n

Across our coalition, we are seeing early, sustained support that is helping us scale our growing operation across the country and take our message to the communities that will determine this election.

n

Our democracy and hard-fought basic rights and freedoms are on the line in 2024, and these numbers prove that the American people know the stakes and are taking action early to help defeat the extreme Maga Republican agenda again.

n

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Good morning, US politics blog readers. The 2024 US presidential election begins in earnest in Iowa on Monday, when voters across the midwestern state will battle freezing temperatures to gather in the unique caucus format to select their Republican candidate of choice.

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The final Des Moines Register/NBC News poll before Monday night’s caucuses found former president, Donald Trump, maintaining a formidable lead over his opponents, supported by 48% of likely caucus-goers.

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After trailing the two-term Florida governor, Ron DeSantis for months, the latest poll showed Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, in second place in Iowa, winning the support of 20% of likely Republican caucus-goers, compared to DeSantis’s 16%, with Vivek Ramaswamy at 8%.

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Should DeSantis finish lower than second place, it could prove fatal to his ability to continue competing in New Hampshire, the next state to vote, and later in the primaries.

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Meanwhile, the Trump campaign hopes that a victory in Iowa would give him enough momentum to win the next contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan, putting him ahead of the field for Super Tuesday on 5 March.

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If he exceeds 50% of the vote in Iowa, Trump will earn what he predicted would be “a historic landslide”.

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Monday is forecast to be a record cold caucus night with temperatures potentially reaching around as low as -20F (-29C).

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The Florida senator, Marco Rubio, on Sunday become the 24th Republican senator to endorse Trump for president, meaning he is now one Republican senator short of securing the majority support of the GOP senators.

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Former Republican presidential candidate and North Dakota governor, Doug Burgum, also endorsed Trump for president on Sunday.

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Key events

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Iowa caucus recap

Donald Trump won by a landslide in Iowa Monday, with Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley trailing in a distant second and third place, respectively. The former president’s victory was so clear and decisive that the Associated Press projected his win just 30 minutes after the caucuses began – much to the ire of DeSantis.

  • A jubilant Trump offered an unusually conciliatory call for unity in his speech Monday night. “I really think this is time now for everybody, our country, to come together,” he said. He also celebrated poll findings that the majority of Iowa Republics did not accept the validity of the 2020 election results.

  • Delegates will be allocated proportionally, once all the votes from across the state have been tabulated. But the night’s results are a big blow to both DeSantis and Haley. The former, especially, invested massive amounts of time and effort in the state, visiting all 99 of Iowa’s counties.

  • DeSantis told supporters at his watch party Monday night, “I can tell you because of your support, in spite of all of that, that they threw at us – everyone against us – we’ve got our ticket punched out of Iowa.” Haley, meanwhile, insisted that this was a “two-person race” between her and Trump.

  • Vivek Ramaswamy finished fourth and ended his campaign, endorsing Trump as he bowed out.

  • Frigid conditions and chilly winds, which the National Weather Service said made for dangerous conditions across the state, may have impacted turnout, which is estimated to be notably lower than 2016.

When he arrived on stage to chants of “Ron, Ron, Ron”, Ron DeSantis cast the night as a successful stand against an array of forces his enemies had deployed against him.

DeSantis greets supporters at his caucus night event.
DeSantis greets supporters at his caucus night event. Photograph: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us,” he said, pointing to his opponents’ spending on ads targeting him, and negative coverage his campaign received from news outlets.

“But they were just so excited about the fact that they were predicting that we wouldn’t be able to get our ticket punched here out of Iowa. But, I can tell you because of your support, in spite of all of that, that they threw at us — everyone against us — we’ve got our ticket punched out of Iowa.”

Finishing second in the state is the best result DeSantis could realistically hope for, and will keep his campaign alive going into New Hampshire’s primary on 23 January. However, it’s unclear if he can replicate that result in the Granite State, where Nikki Haley has seen a polling surge recently that may have put her within striking distance of Trump.

Here’s a striking visual from NBC election tabulator Steve Kornacki, who points out that Donald Trump has virtually accomplished a sweep of Iowa’s 99 counties.

And by a margin of 1 vote Nikki Haley appears to have won Johnson County (Iowa City), leaving Donald Trump that close to a 99-county sweep: pic.twitter.com/MI5bearyPx

— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) January 16, 2024

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And by a margin of 1 vote Nikki Haley appears to have won Johnson County (Iowa City), leaving Donald Trump that close to a 99-county sweep: pic.twitter.com/MI5bearyPx

— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) January 16, 2024

Nikki Haley addressed her supporters as well, thanking Iowans, who she called “faithful and patriotic Americans”.

Haley speaks at her caucus night event.
Haley speaks at her caucus night event. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

“I can safely say, tonight Iowa safely made this Republican primary a two person race,” she said. “The question before Americans now is very clear – do you want more of the same, or do you want a new generation of conservative leadership.

Haley appears to be referencing to a race between her and Trump – but her path ahead after sliding into a distant third tonight remains unclear.

“Our campaign is the last best hope of stopping the Trump-Biden nightmare,” she said.

“They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us,” said Ron DeSantis, speaking to supporters in Des Moines.

DeSantis speaks at his caucus night event on in West Des Moines.
DeSantis speaks at his caucus night event on in West Des Moines. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

After all the time and funds his campaign poured into Iowa, his performance tonight will be a disappointment. But his candidacy has survived to fight another day. “We’ve got our ticket punched out of Iowa,” he said.

Ron DeSantis cinches second place, AP projects

The Florida governor has finished a “distant second” to Donald Trump, the Associated Press projects. Nikki Haley is expected to come third.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has finished a distant second to former President Donald Trump in Iowa's leadoff Republican caucuses. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley came in third. https://t.co/yjeQ0DE6WV pic.twitter.com/9qhTgBX1yF

— The Associated Press (@AP) January 16, 2024

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Vivek Ramaswamy drops out

“There’s no path for me to be the next president absent things that we don’t want to see happen in this country,” Vivek Ramaswamy told supporters in Des Moines.

Ramaswamy speaks at his caucus night event at the Surety Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ramaswamy speaks at his caucus night event at the Surety Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. Photograph: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

He reflected on his candidacy. “Nobody knew who we were, nobody knew what we were up to, but together, we have created a movement that I think is going to carry our nation to the next level,” he says.

He endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency.

Chris Stein

Chris Stein

Ron DeSantis’s watch party is getting underway, with social conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats pitching the Florida governor as the right candidate to beat Joe Biden.

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wait for him to walk out to speak during a caucus night party, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wait for him to walk out to speak during a caucus night party, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/AP

“Now we will have a real fight between whether or not we’re going to return to someone who has proven all he knows how to do is lose to Democrats. Him and his candidates, for the last three cycles, that’s all they’ve done. For the rest of the country, tired of losing to these guys, let’s go with the guy who beat them and that is Ron DeSantis,” Vander Plaats said.

Eline Gordts

Eline Gordts

Nearly two-thirds of Iowa Republicans polled while entering the caucuses on Monday evening by Edison Research said they did not believe Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.

A majority of the 1,577 caucus-goers the firm questioned said Donald Trump would be fit to return to the presidency even if he were convicted of a crime. And nearly half of the respondents said they considered themselves part of Trump’s MAGA movement.

The results underline Trump’s hold on the Republican party in Iowa.

Here’s more from Reuters on the results:

Following are highlights from the Edison Research poll based on interviews with 1,577 Iowa Republicans. The results will be updated as more interviews are collected.

* 65% said they did not think Biden legitimately won the presidency in 2020.

* 64% said they decided who to support in the presidential nomination contest before this month.

* 63% said Trump would still be fit to be president if he were convicted of a crime. 32% said he would be unfit if convicted.

* 59% said they favor a federal law that would ban abortions nationwide.

* 51% of white caucus-goers who considered themselves evangelical or born-again Christians supported Trump, while 29% backed DeSantis.

* 44% of voters said they considered themselves part of the MAGA movement, a reference to Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan. 51% said they were not part of that movement.

* Trump led Haley and DeSantis by double digits among men and women alike. But among college graduates Trump was preferred by about 36% of caucus-goers, compared to 30% for Haley and 27% for DeSantis.

* 37% percent of caucus-goers said the economy was the issue that mattered most in deciding who to vote for on Monday, compared to 34% who cited immigration, while the rest cited foreign policy or abortion.

* 14% said the most important quality a Republican presidential nominee should have is the ability to beat Biden, compared to 41% who said shared values mattered most.

Edison Research conducted the poll on behalf of the National Election Pool, a consortium of news organizations including Reuters.

Vivek Ramaswamy is dropping out of the race, per multiple reports.

Vivek Ramaswamy recites the Pledge of Allegiance as he visits a caucus site at Horizon Event Center in Clive, Iowa.
Vivek Ramaswamy recites the Pledge of Allegiance as he visits a caucus site at Horizon Event Center in Clive, Iowa. Photograph: Sergio Flores/Reuters

It’s unclear who he’ll endorse once he’s out.

Donald Trump is still talking, and after he delivered a few likely planned lines on unity, he’s started improvising, as he’s wont to.

Calling for law and order, the former president referenced the defacement of the Capitol on January 6.

Trump: “We're gonna scrub those marble columns and get the swastickers off them.” pic.twitter.com/WbcGh7jAOV

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 16, 2024

“,”url”:”https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1747109945978298513″,”id”:”1747109945978298513″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”7b37d332-89a4-475b-91c2-63f37d33c64b”}}”>

He also boasted about polling showing that the majority of caucusgoers questioned the 2020 election results.

Chris Stein

Chris Stein

Ron DeSantis’s caucus night watch party is taking place at a Sheraton hotel in West Des Moines.

A scene from Ron DeSantis's Iowa caucus watch party, in West Des Moines.
A scene from Ron DeSantis’s Iowa caucus watch party, in West Des Moines. Photograph: Alyssa Pointer/Reuters

A ballroom packed with supporters, reporters and children is waiting for the Florida governor, but there’s no sign of him yet. Perhaps he’s waiting to find out for sure whether he finished in second or third.

If it’s the latter, many believe it would be a crushing blow to his campaign’s viability. But with a second place finish, he could make the case to supporters that he has a path forward in New Hampshire, the next state to vote in the GOP nomination process.

An estimated 100,000 voters participated in the caucus today, according to the Iowa Republican Party chairman, Jeff Kaufmann.

That’s far short of the 187,000 Republicans who caucused in 2016.

We are on track to have nearly 100k Iowans participating in the 2024 Caucus despite freezing temperatures and our beautiful state being blanketed in snow just two days ago.

Iowans will brave the cold for the future of their families, communities, and country.

THANK YOU, IOWA!

— Jeff Kaufmann (@kaufmannGOP) January 16, 2024

“,”url”:”https://twitter.com/kaufmannGOP/status/1747107045692629355?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet”,”id”:”1747107045692629355″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”a169ff61-533f-43c2-9917-c728919cdb1e”}}”>

We are on track to have nearly 100k Iowans participating in the 2024 Caucus despite freezing temperatures and our beautiful state being blanketed in snow just two days ago.

Iowans will brave the cold for the future of their families, communities, and country.

THANK YOU, IOWA!

— Jeff Kaufmann (@kaufmannGOP) January 16, 2024

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