DES MOINES — Former President Donald Trump won the 2024 Iowa Republican Party’s Caucuses by a historic margin. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finished a distant second.
I want to thank everybody. This has been some period of time and most importantly we want to thank the great people of Iowa. Thank you we love you all. What a turnout, what a crowd,” he said.
Trump finished second in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses with about 24 percent support. He easily won Iowa in the General Election in 2016 and 2020 — and surpassed 51 percent in last night’s Caucuses.
“This has been an incredible experience. The people have been, this a third time we’ve won. But this is the biggest one,” Trump said to cheers. “…They said, ”Well, if you win by 12 percent that’s a big win. That’s going to be very hard to do.’ Well, I think we’ve more than doubled that. I guess it tripled that maybe.”
Trump called for unity as the race moves forward.
“I really think this is time now for everybody, our country to come together. We want to come together,” Trump says. “Whether it’s Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative, it would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and straighten out all of the death and destruction that we’re witnessing.”
Trump, who called his competitors DeSantis and Haley very smart, capable people, thanked his family and the campaign staff. Trump also singled out Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, the only statewide elected official to endorse him.
“She stepped up. She’s going to be your governor someday I predict so we’ll see. We’ll be watching, but she really did,” he says. “She broke away from the pack and she had tremendous courage.”
Trump won 98 of 99 Iowa counties. He lost Johnson County by one vote. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis finished with just over 21 percent support — nearly two points ahead of former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
“Because of your support, in spite all of that they threw at us, everyone against us, we’ve got our ticket punched out of Iowa,” DeSantis said, to cheers.
DeSantis says his campaign faced an onslaught.
“They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us,” DeSantis says. “They even called the election before people even got a chance to vote.” The DeSantis campaign accused media outlets of election interference by projecting Donald Trump had won before many Caucus-goers had started voting. DeSantis called the final results “marching orders” for his campaign.
“We represent a chance to reverse the madness that we’ve seen in this country…and a restoration of sanity,” DeSantis said. “That’s what we are going to do.”
Haley also said she was Trump’s main competitor.
“When you look at how we’re doing in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and beyond,” she said to loud applause, “I can safely say tonight Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race.”
After giving a litany of personal thank-you’s, Haley reflected on spending eleven months in Iowa.
“The kindness of Iowans will never be lost on me,” Haley said. “Thank you, Iowa. We’re going to make you proud and on to New Hampshire!”
Governor Kim Reynolds, who endorsed DeSantis, says the Iowa Caucus results make it a two-person race — between DeSantis and Trump.
“This man doesn’t quit. He’s in it for the long haul. He’s ready to keep going. We’re getting two tickets out of Iowa. We’re sending him to New Hampshire. We’re sending him to South Carolina. Watch out America. Ron DeSantis is not done!” Reynolds said, to cheers.
Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who finished a distant fourth, ended his campaign and endorsed Trump. Jimmy Centers, a communications director for Governor Terry Branstad, says it’s pretty clear Trump is the frontrunner for the G-O-P’s presidential nomination despite candidates like DeSantis and Haley campaigning in Iowa for the past year.
“He’s able to put together a strong coalition of Republicans across the state that spans from evangelicals to blue collar, former perhaps union workers and even your kind of Chamber of Commerce style Republicans,” Centers told Radio Iowa.
Centers says unlike in 2016, Trump had a record to run on — and that appealed to Caucus-goers.