Far-right evangelical Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas has won the Republican Iowa caucus.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was the first of the Republican candidates on Monday night to congratulate his colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his first place win in the Iowa caucuses – a victory most notable for relegating national frontrunner Donald Trump to a second place finish.
With close to 98 percent of the vote in, according to the Des Moines Register, Cruz had garnered 28 percent of the vote while Trump took 24 percent, and Rubio took a likely third place with 23 percent.
"The victory for Cruz," reports CNN, "is the first time that the conventional laws of politics have applied to Trump, a billionaire businessman who has built his campaign around the perception that he's a winner who can bring his unique skills to the White House."
And as the Des Moines Register reports:
Ted Cruz delivered Donald Trump a body blow in Iowa, giving him an unexpected smackdown in the first-in-the-nation presidential vote.
Cruz, an anti-Washington crusader and proud thorn in establishment Republicans’ sides, won enough support from evangelical conservatives and tea party voters to put him over the top, despite being 5 points down in the final Iowa Poll before the caucuses.
The 45-year-old Texas U.S. senator, who logged more than 150 events over 56 days in Iowa this election cycle, upheld the longtime theory that a traditional ground game and intense one-on-one retail politicking matter.
Iowa, a state where almost half of likely GOP caucus goers identify themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, continued its trend of promoting a social conservative rather than the national front-runner.