DES MOINES, United States, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Monday won Iowa Republican caucuses with a comfortable lead over billionaire developer Donald Trump despite Trump’s dominance in the Republican field over the past six months, according to projections by all major U.S. TV networks.
With 99 percent of the 1,681 precincts reporting results of caucuses, Cruz beat Trump 28 percent to 24 percent, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio trailing closely with 23 percent of support.
Speaking here to his supporters in a tone that signaled a departure from his usual bluster, Trump congratulated Cruz but said he was still confident that he would get the nomination.
“We will go on to get the Republican nomination and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie,” said Trump. “We finished second, and I have to say I am just honored.”
Despite coming third, Rubio’s strong performance could place him at a better position to persuade establishment Republicans that he was the potential mainstream candidate to take on “outsiders,” namely Trump and Cruz, a darling to Tea Party conservatives.