Trump wins Iowa caucuses in crucial victory at the outset of the Republican presidential campaign

Jan 15, 2024, 6:38 PM | Updated: 9:11 pm

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to pick up pizza at a Casey...

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to pick up pizza at a Casey's in Waukee, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Donald Trump has won Iowa’s leadoff presidential caucuses.

The former president’s victory on Monday night gives him a strong start in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination as the contest moves to New Hampshire.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are vying for a second-place finish in Iowa that would give them at least some momentum heading into future races.

What to know:

Trump wins Iowa caucuses in crucial victory at the outset of contest

What to watch as voters weigh in on the first 2024 GOP contest

Here’s what to expect in the Iowa caucuses

Who’s running for president? Here are the 2024 candidates

Feeling caucus confusion? Your guide to how Iowa works

Haley loses lead in Iowa county she needs to perform well in

If Haley is going to finish in second place ahead of DeSantis, she will need to run up her margins against him in an Iowa county that she has just lost her lead in.

With around 96% of the expected vote in Story County reported, Haley trails Trump by 134 votes and leads DeSantis by just over 100 votes.

North of Des Moines, Story County is a relatively Democratic-leaning area. It includes Ames, home to Iowa State University, and has trended toward more moderate Republican candidates in past caucuses. Eight years ago, it was one of five counties that Sen. Marco Rubio won. This is the type of county that Haley, who has courted more moderate voters, needed to perform well in if she is to overtake DeSantis.

Haley was leading in Story for much of the night, but that was largely a function of Story reporting its votes relatively more slowly than neighboring counties. This is not unusual: In Iowa, larger, more populated precincts take longer to count — and therefore report — their votes. Smaller precincts, which are also likelier to vote for more conservative candidates, can count faster and report earlier. With just 221 votes reported in the first two hours of caucusing, Haley led until a little after 10:30 p.m. ET.

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Trump wins Iowa caucuses in crucial victory at the outset of the Republican presidential campaign