AP defends decision to call Iowa caucuses for Trump in 30 minutes
The Associated Press is defending its decision to declare former President Trump the winner of the Iowa caucuses on Monday about 30 minutes after voting began.
Why it matters: The 8:31pm ET call came as just nine of 1,657 precincts were reporting results — or 0.54%.
- Voters were turning out despite the record cold weather for the caucuses, which one precinct captain called "frozen nostril cold."
Driving the news: The news organization said the projection was based on an analysis of early returns and voter survey data from eight counties.
- Those counties showed Trump with an "insurmountable lead," AP said.
- And those rural counties were "demographically and politically similar" to many still left to report, it wrote Monday evening.
Zoom in: Members of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' campaign accused the media of "election interference" for calling the race before many voters had voted.
- At the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines, DeSantis supporters told Axios the call was unfair.
- "It's ridiculous. It's bad narrative and makes the media look irresponsible. Let the system work," says Jake Highfill, an Iowa representative and DeSantis supporter.
Zoom out: AP was not alone in its early call. Fox News, NBC News and CNN all projected a Trump win before 9pm ET.
The other side: "The people of Iowa sent a clear message tonight: Donald Trump will be the next Republican nominee for President," Alex Pfeiffer, communications director of Make America Great Again Inc., said in a statement.
- "It's time for Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy to face reality and stop wasting time and resources," he continued.