By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, February 1, US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) essentially tied. The Alabama Constitutional Conservatives and Alabama Minority GOP watched the returns come in at John’s City Diner in Downtown Birmingham.
Sen. Cruz invested enormous resources into winning the Iowa Caucus. He won with 28 percent of the votes cast. New York City billionaire businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump came in second in the Republican Caucus with 24 percent, followed closely by US Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) with a better than expected 23 percent.
State Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) said in a statement afterwards: “Congrats to Cruz, Trump, and Rubio for their performance tonight in Iowa! I do believe that whoever does win the Republican nomination will be the next President of this Great Nation. Let’s take back America 2016! By the way Hillary is felling the Bern.”
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton narrowly beat out Senator Sanders. At press time Clinton had 49.8 percent of the vote and Sanders had 49.6 percent of the votes as then tallied by the Iowa Democratic Party. Several news sources had declared Clinton to be the winner. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley got less than one percent. Following the dreadful performance, O’Malley suspended his campaign.
Sen. Sanders said, “What Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.” The people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the establishment, the political establishment, the corporate establishment, and by the way to the media establishment.”
Secretary Clinton said, “I am excited about really getting into the debate with Senator Sanders into how to fight for America.”
In the Republican race, Dr. Ben Carson received just nine percent of the vote. US Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) got just five percent of the votes. Despite spending over $70 million in Iowa former Florida Governor Jeb Bush got just three percent of the 180,000 GOP votes cast (a new record turnout). Ohio Governor John Kasich received just two percent of the votes. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina received only two percent. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee got only two percent of the votes cast.
Following the disappointing showing, Gov. Huckabee announced that he is suspending his campaign.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got only two percent. Former US Senator Rick Santorum received just one percent followed by former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.
Sen. Cruz said in a statement to supporters, “We won Iowa tonight, but only because YOU stood by my side. Heidi and I owe you a debt of gratitude. While Heidi and I are extremely excited about what this victory means for our campaign and, more importantly, for our nation — this is only the beginning. Tonight, I’m on my way to New Hampshire since there isn’t any time to celebrate… Even though it was a great victory, we are just EIGHT days away from New Hampshire (and South Carolina is right after that). Let me be clear: we won the first round, but this campaign is far from over.”
State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) said on Facebook, “I think today Donald Trump learned that the only poll that matters is the one held on election day. I have to think at some point tonight he must have thought – wow, this is harder than I thought it was going to be. I think tonight was the beginning of the end for Trump. I don’t think he will go away immediately, but I do believe his support will continue to erode as voters look for a candidate who can win in November.”
Senator Rubio said, “This is the moment they said would never happen. For months, for months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us because we offer too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance. For months they told us because we didn’t have the right endorsements or the right political connections, we had no chance. They told me that we have no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high. They told me I needed to wait my turn, that I needed to wait in line.” “But tonight, tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message. After seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back. This is not a time for waiting. For everything that makes this nation great now hangs in the balance. This is a time where we need a president that will truly preserve, and protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, not one that undermines, attacks and ignores the Constitution of the United States.”
Former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said, “Marco gave the most inspirational speech of anyone since Reagan. He is a true patriot who, God willing, will be our next President. Please message me if you want to be on the winning Rubio team here in Alabama.” Armistead is the co-chair of Rubio’s Alabama campaign.
Polls show Trump with a massive lead in the New Hampshire Primary on February 9. It is still possible for one of the more establishment candidates to have a strong showing in New Hampshire; but time could be running out. The last two Republican winners in Iowa: Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Santorum both failed to win the nomination and some pundits are already predicting that that could happen with Cruz as well, though Cruz is polling in second in the New England state.
Senator Sanders, being the neighboring state Senator, is polling in a double digit lead over Secretary Clinton in New Hampshire. The poorer than expected showing in Iowa was not the worst news for Sec. Clinton this week. On Friday, January 29, the US Department of State deemed that 22 of Hillary Clinton’s emails were so top secret that they can’t ever release them, even in redacted form, in the interest of national security. Those 22 emails have operational details of secret operations. Allowing those emails to be accessed through an insecure private server could potentially have potentially have put American covert teams in jeopardy. Worse it could possibly be illegal and could potentially lead to a recommendation by the FBI that Secretary Clinton be indicted for alleged mishandling of classified material.
The Alabama Presidential Primary will be on March 1.