Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, won the Iowa caucuses handily, solidifying his position as the front-runner for the Republican nomination to win the White House again in 2024.
In a largely anticipated outcome on Monday, Trump easily defeated Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, moving him one step closer to clinching a third consecutive nomination for president.
Provisional counts indicated that Trump had won at least 20 of the 40 delegates, with DeSantis earning eight and Haley receiving seven. US media sources called the state-wide contest around half an hour after the polls opened.
After receiving two delegates, biotech company founder Vivek Ramaswamy declared he was dropping out of the contest and endorsing Trump as the results were in.
Trump’s resounding win indicates that he will continue to rule the Republican Party despite his escalating legal problems, which include four felony indictments.
Trump is scheduled to appear in court in New York on Tuesday, when a jury will deliberate whether to award additional damages to a writer who was awarded $5 million by the jury for defamation and sexual assault.
Republicans continue to back Trump despite his legal troubles, since many believe that the cases against him are politically motivated.
George W. Bush was the last Republican presidential contender to win Iowa in 2000, and the state has a mixed history of foretelling the ultimate nominee.
However, the predominantly rural Midwestern state serves as a crucial launching pad for contenders vying for delegates in South Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
Despite the extremely cold weather, Iowans turned out to cast their first ballots in the 2024 presidential campaign at over 1,600 schools, community centers, and other locations.
Prior to the Iowa caucuses, surveys indicated that Trump, the billionaire turned politician, had a double-digit lead over his competitors, demonstrating his command over the Republican base.
Trump is viewed by many Republican supporters in Iowa as the most qualified candidate to handle their issues with the economy, the unprecedented number of migrants and refugees arriving at the southern border, and international instability.
“We require an alternative to what we are now doing. It isn’t functioning. Before the caucuses, 32-year-old Trump supporter David Brunell told Al Jazeera, “I was making more money than I ever have, and now I’m broker than I’ve ever been.”