what you need to know from Iowa

The 2016 presidential contest moves on to New Hampshire, where the nation’s first primary is now just seven days away. To get you started, here are some takeaways from Iowa’s leadoff caucuses:

 

HUGE TURNOUT, BUT NOT ENOUGH FOR TRUMP

Before Monday’s contest, the major question about Donald Trump was whether his legion of fans would become an army of voters.

Plenty did, as turnout in the Republican caucuses was up by nearly 60,000 people compared with 2012. The problem for the businessman was that he still didn’t have enough backers to push past Ted Cruz.

Trump, a New Yorker through and through, was never well-positioned to win over rural Iowa’s evangelical voters. More than 4 in 10 Republicans arriving at caucus sites said the quality that mattered most in their vote was that the candidate shares their values. Among those who said so, Cruz won the support of nearly 4 in 10, compared with less than 1 in 10 for Trump.

Trump will be quick to point out that neither of the GOP candidates that Iowa backed in 2008 and 2012 went on to win the party’s nomination. Yet he missed an opportunity to deal Cruz a blow that would have made his path to the nomination far easier.

 

A CLOSE race for the DEMOCRATs

Hillary Clinton’s campaign team declared victory in the early morning hours as it headed to New Hampshire, pointing to her capture of at least 22 delegates to the party’s national convention to Bernie Sanders’ 21 — with one left to be decided.

But the Iowa results appeared likely to benefit Sanders’ campaign far more than her own. “We came in and we took on the entire political establishment and we fought them to a draw,” said Sanders adviser Tad Devine. “It’s a huge step forward for us.”

Sanders raised $20 million in January and will be well-positioned to build an organization in the lengthy list of states holding contests in March. Still, Iowa has a largely white, liberal Democratic electorate. To argue that he’s a stronger candidate than Clinton, he will need to win over the minority voters who play a major role in upcoming states, including Nevada, South Carolina and several Southern states.

 

IOWA TRUSTED CRUZ

By claiming victory in Iowa, Ted Cruz moves on to New Hampshire as the favorite of his party’s most conservative voters. Expect him to pick up support from like-minded candidates who underwhelmed on Monday, among them former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, who dropped out of the race.

Cruz won with an impressive ground game and beat back brutal attacks from Trump and others about his trustworthiness, the cornerstone of his campaign and his “TRUSTED” slogan. Cruz began the year with more money than most of his competitors combined, and, after New Hampshire, he’ll be able to spend it in more friendly territory as the GOP race moves into the South.

 

RUBIO on the rise

He didn’t win the most votes, but Marco Rubio had a very good night in Iowa.

The first-term Florida senator claimed third place, finishing just behind Trump. More important, he dominated among the mainstream wing of the party, earning more votes than former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich combined. Rubio’s team also proved to be masters of the expectations game. By casting Trump and Cruz as the overwhelming front-runners in recent weeks, Rubio’s strong third-place finish exceeded expectations and recent polls alike — which made it feel like a victory of sorts.

Associated Press