Rubio Surge Nearly Catches Trump
Iowans took to the polls last night, eager to vote for the candidates they wanted to run for president in 2016.
As Donald Trump lost to Ted Cruz, one of the biggest upsets was Marco Rubio’s massive surge that saw him land one percentage point behind Trump.
So this is the moment they said would never happen,” Rubio said. “For months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us that because we offered optimism in a time of anger we had no chance. For months they told us that because we didn’t have the right endorsements, the right political connections, we had no chance.
“But tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message.”
The Hill reports:
There had been strong buzz on the ground for Rubio ahead of the caucuses, but much of it was dismissed by political watchers who have long been tantalized by the Florida senator’s unfulfilled promise.
Now, Rubio heads toward the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary with momentum. He crushed his next-closest competitor for establishment voters, Jeb Bush, who finished with just 3 percent in Iowa.
Polls in the Granite State show a logjam among the mainstream conservatives who have typically excelled there.
But with his strong showing in the Hawkeye State, establishment conservatives could rally behind Rubio as the candidate with the best chance of taking out Cruz and Trump.
Rubio on Monday said he could be the candidate who unites the party in an election year when anger at Washington has been a defining feature.
“Tonight we’ve taken the first step, an important step towards winning this election,” he said. “If I’m the nominee — and I will be the nominee thanks to what you’ve just done in this great state — when I’m our nominee, we’re going to unify this party, and we’re going to unify the conservative movement. When I’m our nominee, we’re going to grow the conservative movement.”
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler sought to dismiss Rubio’s strong showing, saying on MSNBC that it is a “two-man race between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.”
“Marco Rubio is going to come in third,” Tyler said. “Coming in first is better than coming in third.”
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.