NATIONAL NEWS

Trump notches a commanding win in the Iowa caucuses as DeSantis edges Haley for second place

Jan 14, 2024, 9:07 PM | Updated: Jan 15, 2024, 10:40 pm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former President Donald Trump scored a record-setting win in the Iowa caucuses on Monday with his rivals languishing far behind, a victory that affirmed his grip on the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

In what was the lowest-turnout caucus in a quarter-century, participants endured life-threatening cold and dangerous driving conditions to meet in hundreds of schools, churches and community centers across the state. But those who ventured out delivered a roughly 30-point win for Trump that smashed the record for a contested Iowa Republican caucus with a margin of victory exceeding Bob Dole’s nearly 13-percentage-point victory in 1988.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished a distant second, just ahead of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

The results left Trump with a tighter grip on the GOP nomination, though it could take several more months for anyone to formally become the party’s standard bearer. The magnitude of Trump’s victory, however, posed significant questions for both DeSantis and Haley. Neither candidate appeared poised to exit the race, though they leave Iowa struggling to claim making much progress in trying to become Trump’s strongest challenger.

Having repeatedly vowed vengeance against his political opponents in recent months, Trump offered a message of unity in his victory speech.

“We want to come together, whether it’s Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative,” he said. “We’re going to come together. It’s going to happen soon.”

The GOP contest moves swiftly to New Hampshire, which will hold the first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 23. A shrinking field will compete there after conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy suspended his campaign after a disappointing fourth place finish and endorsed Trump.

DeSantis first heads to South Carolina on Tuesday, a conservative stronghold where the Feb. 24 contest could prove pivotal. He will head later in the day New Hampshire.

“Because of your support, in spite of all of what they threw at us, we got our ticket punched out of Iowa,” DeSantis told supporters.

Haley plans to compete vigorously in New Hampshire, where she hopes to be more successful with the state’s independent voters.

“When you look at how well we’re doing in New Hampshire and in South Carolina and beyond, I can safely say tonight Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race,” she said.

In a preview of a remarkable balancing act Trump may have to manage in the months ahead, he was expected to be in court in New York on Tuesday. A jury is poised to consider whether he should pay additional damages to a columnist who last year won a $5 million jury award against Trump for sex abuse and defamation. It’s just one of multiple legal challenges facing the former president.

After visiting the court, Trump will fly to New Hampshire to hold a rally Tuesday evening.

Trump has made courtroom visits a part of his campaign — heading to court voluntarily twice last week while his opponents campaigned in Iowa — in a strategy designed to portray him as a victim of a politicized legal system. Among Republican voters, at least, the approach is working.

The Associated Press declared Trump the winner at 7:31 p.m. CST based on an analysis of early returns as well as results of AP VoteCast, of more than 1,500 voters who said they planned to take part in the caucuses. 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 7:31 p.m., with the rest of the field trailing far behind. These counties included rural areas that are demographically and politically similar to a large number of counties that had yet to report.

The Associated Press determined at 11:17 p.m. CST that DeSantis finished a distant second to Trump. With an estimated 10% of ballots remaining to be counted, DeSantis led Haley by approximately 2,300 votes, or about 2 percentage points. With votes reported in all but one of Iowa’s 99 counties, Haley wasn’t doing well enough anywhere to catch DeSantis, based on the number of outstanding votes.

Trump showed significant strength among Iowa’s urban, small-town and rural communities, according to AP VoteCast. He also performed well with evangelical Christians and those without a college degree. And a majority of caucusgoers said they identify with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement.

One relative weakness for Trump comes in the suburbs, where only about 4 in 10 supported him.

Iowa has been an uneven predictor of who will ultimately lead Republicans into the general election. George W. Bush’s 2000 victory was the last time a Republican candidate won in Iowa and went on to become the party’s nominee.

But Trump’s success tells a remarkable story of a Republican Party unwilling or unable to move on from a flawed front-runner. He lost to Biden in 2020 after fueling near-constant chaos while in the White House, culminating with his supporters carrying out a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. In total, he faces 91 felony charges across four criminal cases.

The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether states have the ability to block Trump from the ballot for his role in sparking the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. And he’s facing criminal trials in Washington and Atlanta for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump has increasingly echoed authoritarian leaders and framed his campaign as one of retribution. He has spoken openly about using the power of government to pursue his political enemies. He has repeatedly harnessed rhetoric once used by Adolf Hitler to argue that immigrants entering the U.S. illegally are “poisoning the blood of our country.” And he recently shared a word cloud last week to his social media account highlighting “revenge,” “power” and “dictatorship.”

Trump’s legal challenges appear to have done little damage to his reputation. Many of his supporters view the charges through a political lens.

About three-quarters of Iowans responding to AP VoteCast said the charges against Trump are political attempts to undermine him, rather than legitimate attempts to investigate important issues.

“God called us to do that to support Trump,” said 64-year-old David Lage, donning a captain’s hat at Trump’s victory party.

___

Peoples reported from Washington. Beaumont reported from Indianola, Iowa, and Fingerhut reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Des Moines, Iowa, Meg Kinnard in Clive, Iowa, Adriana Gomez Licon in Des Moines, Iowa, and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

___

For the latest updates on the Iowa caucuses, follow the AP’s live coverage. Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

National News

Associated Press

New Hampshire Gov. Sununu signs bill banning transgender girls from girls’ sports

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has signed a bill that would ban transgender athletes in grades 5-12 from teams that align with their gender identity, adding the state to nearly half in the nation that adopted similar measures. The bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature would require schools to […]

32 minutes ago

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers call for Biden to drop reelection bid

A rapidly growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers called Friday for President Joe Biden to drop his reelection bid, even as the president insisted he’s read y to return to the campaign trail next week to counter what he called a “dark vision” laid out by Republican Donald Trump. As more Democratic members of Congress urged […]

38 minutes ago

Jungle Cruise Skipper Gabriel Ramos keeps up the Jungle Cruise-style humor as he joins other Disney...

Associated Press

Disneyland workers authorize potential strike ahead of continued contract negotiations

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of workers at Disney’s theme park and resort properties in California voted late Friday to authorize a potential strike, as contract negotiations drag on. The strike authorization was approved by an overwhelming margin, nearly 99% of the members who cast votes according to a union statement. The election was held […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Se...

Associated Press

This is how Secret Service protection has changed for presidents over the years

WASHINGTON (AP) — During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, anyone could come to the White House and see him. Come they did: mothers looking to have their sons released from military service, wives urging that their husbands be freed from prison after resisting the draft, others who simply wanted to meet the president. “Some only wanted comfort […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

9 hours ago

Trump notches a commanding win in the Iowa caucuses as DeSantis edges Haley for second place