Jan 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump wins Iowa caucuses, AP projects

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a rally at Clinton Middle School on January 06, 2024 in Clinton, Iowa

Former President Trump speaks to guests during a rally at Clinton Middle School on Jan. 6 in Clinton, Iowa. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Trump will win Monday's pivotal first-in-the nation Iowa caucuses, the AP projects, cementing his status as the overwhelming front-runner in the Republican primary.

Why it matters: Trump's campaign set expectations high heading into Iowa — and his victory signals that the lead he held in polls for months before the caucuses is a reality among Republican voters.

The big picture: Scarred from his second-place finish in 2016, Trump descended on the Hawkeye State in the final stretch before the 2024 caucuses to shore up support and try to ensure strong turnout.

  • Questions over turnout loomed large before the caucuses, especially as a polar vortex slammed the state, bringing frigid temperatures and blizzard conditions.
  • "The biggest risk is you say, you know, 'We're winning by so much, darling, let's stay home and watch television,'" Trump said in a warning to supporters this month.

State of play: With Trump appearing as the favorite in polls for months leading into Iowa, DeSantis and Haley battled for second place.

  • The pair duked it out last week during the final debate before the Iowa caucuses, where they clashed with each other before eventually turning against Trump, who skipped the debate and instead sat for a town hall.

Between the lines: Trump, also navigating a mountain of legal troubles while running his campaign, campaigned predominately in Iowa through big rallies in urban centers and leaned into support from surrogates.

  • DeSantis criss-crossed the state, claiming to have visited all 99 counties and seeking to tap into evangelical voters in Iowa.

What to watch: The next contest is on Jan. 23 in New Hampshire, which will be a key test to see whether Haley can translate her eleventh-hour surge into a better-than-expected finish.

  • The New Hampshire primary will also be key in determining whether Trump's strong performance in Iowa was an anomaly or representative of his standing among Republican primary voters.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper: How the Iowa caucuses work and why this year is different

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