By Zachary Toillion
As snow envelops the state of Iowa, the end of a long campaign is now over. Emerging victorious in the first presidential contest are Sec. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ted Cruz.
History was made in a number of ways. Republicans broke records for turnout, seeing a 50 percent increase over their 2012 totals. Clinton became the first woman to ever win the Iowa Caucuses and Sen. Bernie Sanders became the first non-Christian to ever win delegates for the presidency.
On the Republican side, several surprises unfolded. Cruz won by a solid margin after 10 consecutive public polls showed Trump with a narrow lead. Over-performing expectations was Sen. Marco Rubio who finished in third place, trailing longtime frontrunner Donald Trump by a slim one percent margin.
The Democratic race also surprised many by how close it turned out to be. The hard fought contest was called only when every last precinct in the entire state reported results, with Clinton seeking out a narrow victory by a 0.3 percent margin. The divide was largely on generational lines with Sanders securing over 80 percent of voters under the age of 30 and Clinton earning over 60 percent of voters over the age of 60.
The lone dropouts of the 2016 race were Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.).
The nomination now heads to New Hampshire where Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump hold sizable double digit leads. In the Democratic primary, Sanders has something of a home field advantage as New Hampshire borders Vermont, the state he has represented in Congress since 1991. The New Hampshire Republican primary has long been perceived to be a race for second place, with Rubio, Cruz, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich and Gov. Chris Christie all hovering around the 10 percent mark for the last month. The perceived strength of Cruz and Rubio coming out of Iowa, in addition to Trump’s failure to meet expectations, promise to change the calculus of the state.
New Hampshire holds the next presidential contest on Tuesday, February 9.