Presidential Election

Trump wins Iowa caucuses as weather depresses turnout

Former President Donald Trump is projected to win the first nominating contest in the race to become the Republicans' 2024 presidential nominee.

Trump wins Iowa caucuses as weather depresses turnout
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus site at Horizon Events Center.
Andrew Harnik/AP
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Scripps News and Decision Desk HQ project former President Donald Trump will win the Iowa caucuses on Monday.

Trump's projected victory came with little drama as virtually every poll showed Trump well ahead of the competition. The real question going into Monday was who would take second place and perhaps gain momentum into next week's New Hampshire primary. Scripps News and Decision Desk HQ project that DeSantis will finish ahead of Haley, but the gap between DeSantis and Trump was large.

"I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for having a good time together," Trump said. "We're all having a good time together. I think they both actually did very well. I really do. I think they both did very well."

Meanwhile, after finishing in fourth place, Vivek Ramaswamy said there is "no path" to becoming president and dropped out of the race. He is also endorsing Trump.

Iowa Republicans began meeting Monday evening to cast their votes in this year's GOP caucuses. Their votes were the first to be cast in the 2024 election cycle, with New Hampshire's primary to follow on Jan. 23. 

Republicans headed to caucuses as temperatures plunged below zero Monday evening throughout the state. The state is also still recovering from a blizzard late last week that dropped heavy snow. 

The Iowa GOP said that about 100,000 Iowans participated in this year's caucuses, far below projections. 

"Iowans braved record-low temperatures after a blizzard blanketed their state just days earlier to deliberate with members of their community about the future of our country and participate in true, grassroots democracy," the Iowa GOP said. 

Although winning delegates is important, gaining momentum is even more essential heading into the heart of primary season. The actual impact of winning Iowa is relatively small — the state offers just 40 delegates out of a total of 2,429 up for grabs. It takes 1,215 to secure the nomination. 

Trump will leave Iowa with plenty of momentum as he won by a large margin. The result has him already thinking about the general election and a potential rematch against President Joe Biden. 

"We have to beat them. I'm the only one — every single poll over the last two months and beyond that, I am beating him (President Joe Biden). I'm say we're beating him because we have to get him out. He's destroying our country," Trump told an Iowa caucus gathering on Monday.

In the final Iowa caucuses poll released by the Des Moines Register and NBC News before Monday, Trump had a commanding lead over his Republican challengers. If anything, Trump even beat those expectations on Monday.

The next primary will be held in New Hampshire, where recent polls show Trump continues to hold a commanding advantage, but Haley has gained some traction and surged ahead of DeSantis. 

What's at stake in the Iowa caucuses?
What's at stake in the Iowa caucuses?

What's at stake in the Iowa caucuses?

Here's everything you need to know about where we are, how we got here, and what's at stake Monday night.

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The caucuses have a different process than most other states' primaries. Those who attend caucuses may hear from representatives of the candidates, and the caucuses don't allow for absentee voting.

Democrats also used to hold their presidential caucuses on the same night as Republicans. Reforms made by the party mean that Democrats will still caucus to discuss party business and elect delegates, but what's new this year is that Democrats in Iowa will cast their ballot through a mail-in primary.