Last night saw the first actual voting of the 2016 election season with Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton winning the Iowa Caucuses. With the New Hampshire Primary just one week away and Super Tuesday in less than a month, here is the state of the Republican and Democratic fields:
Ted Cruz — Last night was a huge win. Cruz beat back the Trump insurgency and scored big among evangelicals. A lot of Super Tuesday primaries are in the South, so the Texas Senator will need to keep that base energized if he’s going to keep his momentum going.
Hillary Clinton — The former Secretary of State may have edged out Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, but the fact that Bernie—an old, white, democratic socialist from a tiny state—ran so close to the Clinton machine has to be disconcerting.
WHO’S STILL IN IT
Donald Trump — Yes, he failed to win this round. But the billionaire businessman gave a surprisingly gracious speech, he came in second, and he’s still leading big in New Hampshire. Though losing Iowa probably bruises the former Republican frontrunner’s substantial ego, Trump is still very much in the race.
Bernie Sanders — The Bern is still alive. He basically tied Hillary Clinton, won huge among young voters, and is leading handily in New Hampshire. Whether that momentum can carry over to Super Tuesday remains to be seen, but for now Vermont Senator Sanders is still very much in the race.
Marco Rubio — Some say Rubio was the biggest winner. That’s overstating it, because he still came in third place, but it still was a good night: The Florida Senator established himself as the consensus “establishment” lane candidate and kept it a three-man race.
Ben Carson — He didn’t live up to his billing as a one-time leader in the Iowa polls, and he couldn’t capture the evangelical support that went to Cruz. Still, Carson came in fourth with around 10%. That’s not bad for a neurosurgeon with no political experience. He could still challenge in some southern states if he manages to wrestle some evangelicals away from Cruz.
Rand Paul — It was a bad night for the Kentucky Senator, as he couldn’t win some of the libertarian voters who supported his father Ron in the past. Still, he’s alive.
John Kasich and Chris Christie — Both candidates barely registered in Iowa, but then again, they weren’t trying to. Both of the governors are going for broke in New Hampshire next week, so they’re still alive.
Mike Huckabee — Huckabee, who won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008, failed to get traction there this time. His campaign was largely focused on evangelical voters, who had moved over to Cruz this time around. The former Arkansas Governor suspended his campaign last night.
Martin O’Malley — O’Malley also suspended his campaign after getting just eight delegates from the Democratic Caucuses. He was originally thought to be the liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton, but the former Maryland Governor eventually lost that mantle to Bernie Sanders and never found a way to stay relevant. He’ll always have his music though.
Rick Santorum — Like Huckabee, Santorum is a former Iowa Caucus winner (back in 2012). Like Huckabee, he lost his band of evangelical voters to Cruz. Unlike Huckabee, he hasn’t formally left the race yet. Still, it’s hard to see a viable path back for the former Pennsylvania Senator .
Jeb Bush — Jeb Bush could probably have been listed in our “Who’s Still In It” category, because he won’t be leaving the race anytime soon, given his vast money reserves. Still, the former Florida Governor has been completely usurped by Marco Rubio as the establishment’s candidate of choice. So though Bush will remain on the ballot, who knows why?
Carly Fiorina — There was a time when the former Hewlett-Packard CEO was rising in the polls, vying to be a real contender. Those days are gone, as she just didn’t perform in Iowa. She hasn’t pulled out, but it can’t be long.
Jim Gilmore — At the debate last week, the former Virginia Governor said he was starting his campaign in New Hampshire. He’s not even included in the Real Clear Politics aggregate polls. The “Who knows?” category can be expanded many ways for Gilmore, such as “Who is he?” and “Does he really think he can win?” and, simply “Why?”