Senator Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucus (28%) with a record turnout and Senator Marco Rubio came in third place with a surprising (23%). Donald Trump (24%) placed second, underperforming according to the polls leading up to the caucus. Ben Carson and Senator Rand Paul placed fourth and fifth respectively.
“Tonight is a victory for the grassroots. Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation,” Cruz told cheering supporters.
“For months they told us we had no chance… They told me I needed to wait my turn,” Rubio said. “But tonight… here in Iowa, the people in this great state sent a very clear message. After seven years of Barack Obama, we are not waiting any longer to take our country back.”
Trump claimed his second place win by saying he beat expectations.
“We will go on to get the Republican nomination, and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there,” he said. "I think I might come here and buy a farm, I love it.”
Iowa's delegates will be divided proportionally with Cruz taking 8, Trump taking 7, and Rubio taking 6.
Republican officials said there were more than 180,000 people at Monday's GOP caucuses, up from the previous high of about 121,000 in 2012. Several caucus sites remained open longer to accommodate long lines; some even ran out of registration forms or ballots.
Entrance polling suggests that Cruz won the evangelical vote, who turned out in record numbers. Sixty-two percent of GOP caucus-goers identified as evangelical, up from 56% in 2012.