Donald Trump wins in Iowa as Republican contest kicks off 2024 presidential race | US elections 2024

Donald Trump won the US’s first election contest of 2024, easily fending off a winnowed field of Republicans who failed to gain as much traction as the cult of personality surrounding the former president.

The Associated Press called the race for Trump rapidly, while caucusgoers in much of the state were still casting ballots, a sign of the wide lead the former president has in the race.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are vying for second place. The Florida governor campaigned in traditional Iowa fashion, visiting all 99 counties, in the hopes that voters there would reward him as they have candidates in the past. The former UN ambassador is seen as Republicans’ most moderate choice, with a better chance to beat Joe Biden in the general election than the candidates to her right.

Whoever takes second place, albeit a distant one to Trump’s commanding lead, will see more momentum in their campaign. It’s possible the field will winnow down more after the caucus results.

Three other candidates are polling lower than Haley and DeSantis and are expected to land in the single-digit percentages, if that. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy leads the lesser-known pack, which includes Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor, and the pastor Ryan Binkley.

The first contest kicks off the 2024 election cycle, which is predicted to be an eventual rematch between Trump and Biden. Already, threats of political violence loom over the election, as officials and judges face increasing harassment.

Iowa’s caucuses became more notable over the weekend for the weather rather than the winner, which was seen as inevitable. Caucus-goers faced sub-zero temperatures, bitter winds and snow drifts to make it to their neighborhood caucus sites, which may have affected turnout.

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In the road to the first Republican election outing, the field narrowed, with Trump never falling from a commanding lead. His ardent followers showed up to rallies and worked on the ground, dismissing the ongoing legal issues and increasingly harsh rhetoric the former president used on the campaign trail, where he vowed a second term focused on retribution against his political foes.

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