Update (1:07 p.m. 2/2/16): Hillary Clinton has officially won the Iowa Caucus, according to the Associated Press. The longtime front runner beat Bernie Sanders by just 0.3 percent. Clinton now has 700.59 state delegates, while Sanders has 696.82.
UPDATE (2/2/16): Hillary Clinton's camp declared victory in the Iowa Caucus early this morning, but Democratic party officials have yet to declare an official winner.
See original story from 2/1/16 below
As we inch closer to election day, the race between Bernie and Hillary is getting even closer (and O’Malley continues to hold out for it). There are still far too many Republican candidates to consider seriously, but that ends now. Tonight, the Iowa caucus kicked off the presidential primaries, weeding out the candidates who’ve attempted to win over the American people but have consistently been seated at the kids’ table for debates.
Something of a Magic 8 Ball of politics, the Iowa Caucus historically has a knack for predicting with some accuracy (about 50 percent) who will take the ticket for both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Need a little refresher on how this caucus stuff actually works? Take a moment to watch this explainer with Legos characters. We’ll wait.
Make sense? So here’s what we’re left with after all of this went down.
On the Republican side, Ted Cruz won with 27.7% of the vote, followed by Donald Trump with 24.4% and then Marco Rubio with 23.1%, Ben Carson with 9.3%, Rand Paul with 4.5% and Jeb Bush with 2.8%.
After his lackluster support former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley has decided to suspend his campaign, CNN reports. Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee also announced his withdrawal via Twitter:
I am officially suspending my campaign. Thank you for all your loyal support. #ImWithHucK— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) February 2, 2016
In response to his loss, Marco Rubio told audiences, "When I'm elected president, we will embrace all of the principles that made America great." He added, "I am grateful to you Iowa. You believed in me when others didn't think this was possible."
Donald Trump also remained optimistic about his campaign. "We will go on to get the Republican nomination, and we will go on to beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there," he said. He wrapped up his speech in true Trump fashion: "I think i might come here and buy a farm!"
After remaining silent for nearly an hour, Ted Cruz finally spoke up about his big win by telling the crowd, "God bless the great state of Iowa." He went on to call tonight a "victory for grassroots."
Tonight is a victory for the grassroots, for conservatives across Iowa, and conservatives across the nation. pic.twitter.com/WPsvqyJ3sl— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 2, 2016
For the Democrats, the race is close, with only a .3% difference between first and second place. Hillary Clinton currently leads with 49.9%, followed by Bernie Sanders with 49.6% and Martin O'Malley with 0.6%.
While the official results are not yet in, Clinton is already addressing her supporters. "I will not let [Republicans'] divisiveness—their efforts to rip away the progress we’ve made—be successful. I will keep doing what I’ve done my entire life. I will keep standing up for you. I will keep fighting for you," she said before adding, "I stand here tonight, breathing a big sigh of relief. Thank, you Iowa."
Shortly afterward, Sanders spoke to his supporters, saying, "While the results are still not know, it looks like we are in a virtual tie [with Hillary Clinton]." He added, "It looks like we'll have about half of the Iowa delegates."