Former President Donald Trump started off strong Monday night with a victory in Iowa. His defiant bid to return to the White House began with a record-setting performance securing 51% of the caucus votes, blowing past Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (21%) and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley (19%). The results of the caucuses, posted by the GOP on Jan. 15, reveal that 98 out of 99 Iowa counties voted for Trump.
“I think it was an expected result of Trump winning for the Republican Party, however the amount he beat DeSantis by was surprising,” junior Kayla Iarossi said. “The future election will be affected by these results as our party is choosing its leader and the more than likely next president of our country.”
The Iowa caucuses mark the first major contest of the presidential primary season. They consist of electoral events held for both parties where voters meet together or “caucus” to discuss each candidate and then place their vote in a secret ballot at the end. The caucuses have historically indicated which candidate will continue to do well in the following contests and Trump’s sweeping victory demonstrates his dominance in the Republican Party.
“Trump’s margin of victory certainly presents a real challenge going forward for both DeSantis and Haley,” Maclay parent and Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise said. “At some point, the battle for second place becomes irrelevant if Trump continues to dominate.”
The close fight between DeSantis and Haley was even accompanied by some controversy as to who won second place. While DeSantis was able to gain more overall votes than Haley (21% to 19%), Haley’s single vote win in Johnson County was the only obstacle in the way of a Trump shutout. Many DeSantis supporters continue to claim that he is the leading alternative to Trump. However, because of Haley’s more centrist approach, she is projected to outpace DeSantis in New Hampshire where the electorate is more centrist.
“The results of the Iowa caucuses hurt the other republican candidates,” senior Brinkley Snow said. “We probably will end up with Trump as the nominee and Trump vs. Biden in the general election.”
The next Republican presidential primary is scheduled to take place in New Hampshire on Jan. 23. The race for second place will continue as DeSantis and Haley alternate as Trump’s main opposition. According to the Wall Street Journal, large numbers of independents typically vote in the GOP primary which may give Haley more supporters due to her centrism. Additionally, some crossover Democrats may be motivated to widen Haley’s support in an effort to weaken Trump’s ability to secure the nomination.
The results in New Hampshire may well further narrow the race for the Republican nominee. A strong performance by Haley will give her much needed momentum heading into her home state of South Carolina where she is already projected to prevail over DeSantis. Meanwhile, Trump will be looking for another powerful win in New Hampshire, hoping to close out the nomination early.
“This historic margin of victory establishes Trump as the front-runner and clears the path forward heading into New Hampshire,” Kise said.