IOWA: Former President Donald Trump is projected to win the Iowa caucuses, according to CNN, solidifying his position as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination to turn up against incumbent Joe Biden in a 2020 rematch. Trump’s victory in his first election since his unusual exit in 2020 has also laid to rest any lingering questions about his hold over the GOP and the potency of his right-wing message.
According to CNN, around 4 per cent of the results have been released so far, according to which, Trump is expected to receive 16 of Iowa’s 40 delegates. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are estimated to get four delegates each so far. There are 16 delegates unallocated.
Notably, whoever wins the GOP nomination needs to win at least 1,215 out of 2,429 delegates awarded. The focus of the race will now turn to New Hampshire, which will hold its first-in-the-nation Republican primary on January 23. The result has put added pressure on his two GOP rivals — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, ahead of next week’s contest.
While Haley will be hoping to impress among a more ideologically diverse primary electorate. She has been gaining on Trump in the state, and the state could serve as a backstop after her Iowa loss, even though the former president still has a substantial edge in the Granite State, The Hill reported. The Iowa outcome is a deeper cut for DeSantis, according to CNN. DeSantis along with aligned outside groups, spent heavily in the state, hoping to overtake Trump and signal a changing of guard in national Republican politics.
The Hill reported several strategists that a Trump win in both Iowa and New Hampshire could seal the deal for the rest of the election cycle, making it nearly ‘impossible’ for another GOP candidate to catch up before the general. Notably, in Trump’s 2016 presidential bid, he lost Iowa to then-candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) before going on to win New Hampshire and then the nomination.
However, the road ahead is not easy for the former president as he continues to face substantial challenges to his campaign, including multiple criminal indictments and ongoing legal battles in courtrooms across the country. In a handful of states, he even faces efforts to remove him from the ballot. Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump is ‘disqualified’ from competing in the race under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause, finding that he violated his oath with his actions around January 6, 2021. Maine’s Secretary of State also disqualified Trump under the 14th Amendment, The Hill reported.
But Trump has framed his legal issues as “political attacks” arguing he is the victim of a “witch hunt” as he vies for another term. “We’re going to win the Iowa caucuses and then we’re going to crush crooked Joe Biden next November,” The Hill quoted Trump as saying in a rally in Iowa last month. “I have polls that show me leading by tremendous amount in New Hampshire and a lot in Iowa. And nationwide, we’re leading by almost 60 points. So, I’m not exactly worried about it,” Trump said at Fox News town hall. “I think we’re going to do very well in New Hampshire.”