Real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump may have narrowly edged out Florida Senator Marco Rubio in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, but in terms of what really matters, Rubio tied him — or maybe even trumped The Donald.
In the Republican primary, each state’s results award delegates to the July national convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The first candidate to rack up 1,237 votes will win (there are 2,472 available). Monday’s Iowa caucus awarded delegates to the top six candidates.
Ted Cruz, who won 27.6 percent of the vote, was awarded 8 delegates. Trump, who took 24.3 percent, won seven delegates. Rubio, with slightly more than one percent less (23.1 percent), also won seven delegates. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (9.3 percent) took three delegates, and both Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (4.5 percent) and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (2.8 percent) took one.
So when it comes to looking at who can win the Republican nomination, Trump and Rubio tied for second place.
But the story gets even juicier. Rubio declared victory on Monday night because he outperformed his poll numbers. Rubio advisor Todd Harris triumphantly declared that the campaign “blew past” its vote goals. Trump, however, underperformed. Second place is far from embarrassing, but for a polling front-runner like Trump who boasted non-stop about his high numbers, it comes as a shock. (Some prankster bought the web domain www.loser.com, and it’s less than kind to The Donald.)
Exit polls showed Cruz won 44 percent of “very conservative” voters, while Rubio won the majority of “somewhat conservative” voters. Trump took “moderates” at 34 percent.
Trump’s now infamous tweet that “No one remembers who comes in second” may turn out to be accurate. But everyone will remember who came in third, and Marco Rubio knows it.
“No one remembers who came in second.” – Walter Hagen
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2013
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) February 2, 2016