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Donald Trump wins Iowa Republican caucuses in first contests of 2024

Former President Donald Trump speaks at his caucus night event at the Iowa Events Center on January 15, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Chip Somodevilla
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Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump speaks at his caucus night event at the Iowa Events Center on January 15, 2024 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Updated January 16, 2024 at 12:04 AM ET

Former President Donald Trump has won the Iowa Republican caucuses, according to a race call by The Associated Press.

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"This has been an incredible experience," Trump said late Monday night.

Trump thanked Iowans for delivering him a decisive win. Trump also thanked his team and supporters who turned out to vote despite the arctic blast that brought freezing temperatures throughout the state.

This is the second time that Trump has won the Iowa caucuses, although during his speech he claimed to have won contests in the state three times.

Trump won the Iowa caucuses in 2020, but lost to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in 2016.

While addressing his supporters, Trump criticized President Biden for issues with the country's southern border, crime, and wars abroad.

"He is the worst president that we have had in the history of our country," Trump said. "He is destroying our country."

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Trump also congratulated his opponents for the GOP nomination: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who Trump said "did a hell of a job."

Ramaswamy suspended his campaign Monday night and endorsed Trump for the nomination.

Trump noted that despite all the money and time his opponents spent in Iowa, they were unable to gain traction in a race that Trump was overwhelmingly favored to win.

"Traction is never easy," he said. "You need controversy for traction."

Despite canceling three of his four in-person campaign events over the weekend due to harsh winter weather, Trump called on his supporters to get out and caucus.

"You can't sit home," he said at a rally in Indianola on Sunday. "Even if you vote and then pass away, it's worth it."

Trump has enjoyed a strong lead in Iowa polls since last spring. He increased that lead over the course of last year, leaving DeSantis and Haley to battle for second place in Iowa.

Trump's commanding lead has endured despite his indictment on 91 charges across four criminal cases. He also appeared to take no hit in polls for skipping all of the GOP presidential candidate debates.

DeSantis, who came in second in the caucuses, campaigned heavily in the state and earned the endorsement of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. But it did not help him eat into Trump's lead.

Polling shows that Haley, meanwhile, has gained on Trump in New Hampshire, which holds its primary eight days after Iowa's caucuses.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political correspondent assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on The NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.
Ashley Lopez
Ashley Lopez is a political correspondent for NPR based in Austin, Texas. She joined NPR in May 2022. Prior to NPR, Lopez spent more than six years as a health care and politics reporter for KUT, Austin's public radio station. Before that, she was a political reporter for NPR Member stations in Florida and Kentucky. Lopez is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Miami, Florida.
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