UPDATE: 5:17 EST — American rapper, singer and songwriter Azaelia Banks announced Monday that she plans on voting for businessman Donald Trump, just hours after she wished her followers a happy black history month. Her Twitter account was quickly caught up in a firestorm, and Banks defended herself, saying that Trump is the best candidate to take on big business before criticizing the Republican front-runner’s character.

Her support of Trump seemed anything but enthusiastic.  At one point she wrote that she thinks the United States is “full of s---“ and that the country may as well “put a piece of s--- in the White House.” Later she wrote that she thinks Trump is evil, just “like America” and that “in order for America to keep up with itself it needs him.”

 She also criticized Trump’s Democratic rivals former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. At one point she also tweeted that Dr. Ben Carson, another Republican in the race, was white.











UPDATE: 4:25 p.m. EST — The website FiveThirtyEight.com, which is run by statistician Nate Silver and accurately predicted the results of 49 out of 50 states in the 2012 general election, updated their prediction Monday afternoon and gave former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a 67 percent chance of winning the Iowa caucuses. Her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is ranked with just a 33 percent chance of winning. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley comes in last with just a 1 percent chance.

On the Republican side, businessman Donald Trump leads with a 46 percent chance, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (39 percent), then Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (14 percent) and finally Dr. Ben Carson (1 percent).







UPDATE: 3:59 p.m. EST — Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson was forced to hold an Iowa campaign event via Skype Monday after his flight was cancelled, according to a Des Moines Register reporter in the room. A picture of the gathering shows a group with about 75 people waiting in front of a television where Carson was expected to call in with his cell phone.

Carson has struggled in the polls recently. Once a leading candidate in the race, he has dropped considerably since then and currently finds himself in fourth place in Iowa with just 7.7 percent of the vote, according to an average of polls from Real Clear Politics.









UPDATE: 3:31 p.m. EST —Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who currently leads in polls in Iowa ahead of Monday’s caucuses, reportedly told a crowd in Cedar Rapids that if they see anyone getting ready to throw a tomato at him, they should “knock the crap out of them” and that he would “pay the legal fees.”

Trump was told by security that someone might try to throw the tomato. Elsewhere in the crowd, someone was reportedly dressed up as an ear of corn.


UPDATE 3:20 p.m. EST — Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate who has endorsed businessman and GOP front-runner Donald Trump for president, suggested Monday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that Rep. Steve King, was “huffin’ ethanol,” according to a writer for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. King, a conservative lawmaker from the Hawkeye state, has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of Trump’s strongest challengers in the race.

One of Iowa’s biggest agricultural products, corn, is used to produce ethanol. Ethanol is a grain alcohol that is blended with gasoline to make the vehicles more fuel efficient. Iowa receives federal subsidies to produce corn for ethanol, supporting 46,000 jobs and generating $2.5 billion a year. Cruz is against the federal subsidies, while Trump has been favorable toward the financial boost.

UPDATE: 3:02 p.m. EST — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has self-funded most of his insurgent bid for the White House, allocated roughly $1 out of every $16 dollars his campaign spent in the past three months, according to an analysis of his campaign spending by the Washington Post.

That’s quite a bit for the hats, but the analysis found something even more interesting. Over the past three months, of all the cash spent by his campaign, roughly one dollar in seven was spent with a company that is either owned by Trump or affiliated with his name.









UPDATE: 1:53 p.m. EST — Hours ahead of the Iowa caucus, hecklers interrupted former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's Des Moines rally, saying they expected to be paid for being there. Bush promptly told the two men to “get out of here,” according to a Des Moines Register reporter.

The men were likely responding to a flier that made its rounds on social media earlier in which an individual promised to pay people to attend the event. The Bush campaign indicated earlier that they suspected the super PAC associated with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to be behind the flier. An earlier email sent to the address listed on the flier brought back a response indicating the individual was not associated with an official campaign.

GettyImages-507448038 Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush addresses an audience of supporters on Jan. 29, 2016 in Sioux City, Iowa. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


UPDATE: 1:45 p.m. EST — Republican presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump, the leader in the GOP field, is making this young primary season into a family affair. The campaign released a schedule Monday afternoon detailing precincts where his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump will be caucusing Monday night.

Those events include appearances at middle schools and evangelical churches.

The Trump children —all of whom are adults— aren’t the only family members who will be campaigning for their loved ones in Iowa. Former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton have both also been campaigning on behalf of their candidate, Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


UPDATE: 1:09 p.m. EST — A picture of a flier offering to pay people to attend a rally for Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been making its rounds on Twitter but the Bush campaign has said that it isn’t associated with their operations. Instead, Bush’s national press secretary, Kristy Campbell, has indicated she believes that the super PAC associated with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — one of the governor’s chief rivals — is behind the deed.

An email sent to the address listed on the flier returned an invitation for a Des Moines event and promises that payment will be received at the end. The email, sent by someone named Dale Herbert, notes that he is not “affiliated with any official campaign.”


UPDATE: 11:56 p.m. EST — The Des Moines Register tweeted Monday morning that the blizzard expected in Iowa won’t hit the state until after the caucuses are held that evening. The update to the weather is potentially good news for candidates like businessman Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who are both relying on voter blocs that are less likely to have caucused before.

Because of the tricky and obscure nature of the caucus system, those that have participated in the caucuses before are much more reliable when predicting who will show up. A snow storm could have put one more obstacle in the way of Trump or Sanders supporters and may have kept some people home.

GettyImages-507433124 Senator Marco Rubio campaigned in Iowa ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucus. Photo: scott olson/getty images


UPDATE: 11:34 a.m. EST — Rushing to get final face time with potential caucus goers Monday, presidential candidates on both side of the aisle began their final campaign events.

They included nearly all of the 2016 White House hopefuls, according to a schedule compiled by the Des Moines Register and schedules provided by the campaigns.

Meanwhile, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton told ABC News that she’s a better candidate than she was in 2008 when she lost to then-Sen. Barack Obama in Iowa. She has been neck and neck with Sanders recently in both of the first two nominating contests in the primary season.


UPDATE: 11:21 a.m. EST — Six-time NBA most valuable player and former cultural ambassador for the United States Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an op-ed in the Washington Post Monday morning urging Iowa supporters of businessman Donald Trump to consider their options before caucusing for the billionaire that  evening.

“You are angry with the gridlock caused by the petty bickering of professional politicians more interested in being lackeys to lobbyists and other big-money donors than in improving the lives of average wage-earning Americans,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Money, jobs and opportunities seem to flow upstream to those who already have everything, rather than downstream to those most in need. Truly, this is how most Americans feel.”

GettyImages-507827262 Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) waves to Iowa voters while arriving on stage at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Jan. 31, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Abdul-Jabbar noted he understand that Trump supporters are angry with what they see as a broken political system with leaders that are either out of touch with regular voters or purposefully blind and corrupted by the lobbyists in Washington, D.C. But, he wrote, Trump isn’t reliable in many ways from his conservative positions that have frequently evolved during his adult life to his inability to recite his favorite bible verse even though he claims to be pious.

People like tough talk, Abdul-Jabbar said, and Trump provides that. But, he wrote, Trump won’t be able to deliver on the promises he’s made.


UPDATE: 10:40 a.m EST — Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who became a darling of the party in 2014 when she came from behind in the race to win her seat, refused to call businessman Donald Trump a true conservative Monday during a Bloomberg Politics breakfast interview in Des Moines. She said there was “no proof” that Trump is a conservative and pointed to statements he made just years ago that made him seem less conservative at the time.

“The unfortunate thing is we don’t have a record that we can judge him by,” she said. “Judging from what he said just a few years ago, I would not have agreed that he was a conservative.”

Ernst has not endorsed any of the 2016 candidates; however she has appeared at campaign events for her colleague Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. She became well known nationally during her Senate run after airing a campaign advertisement where she said that she had experience castrating pigs as a farm girl in her state.


UPDATE: 10:24 a.m. EST — The leading candidates on both sides of the aisle are set to stream their caucus night speeches Monday at 9 p.m. EST. or 8 p.m. CST if you’re in Iowa. The caucuses are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. CST but don’ t have a set end time because of the rules for caucusing that require a level of consensus among participants on who they choose as their nominee. You can view a Democratic caucus meeting here or a Republican caucus meeting here. Those will be aired at 8 p.m. EST.

As for the 9 p.m. EST speeches themselves, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s can be found here, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s can be found here, businessman Donald Trump’s can be found here, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s can be found here and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s speech can be found here.

RTX24R5G U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is joined by her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea at a "Get Out to Caucus" rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder


UPDATE: 9:43 a.m. EST — Hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2012 Iowa caucus debacle when the Republican Party there mistakenly called the contest for the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, instead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, software company Microsoft has provided an app to precincts free of charge. The new app is expected to be used Monday evening alongside other apps developed by the individual campaigns.

Dry runs of the software have shown no issues with the technology. Microsoft is hoping to avoid confusion in the process with its tech, according to the Hill.

GettyImages-507816396 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign rally at the Sioux City Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa on Jan. 31, 2016. Photo: joe raedle/getty images


Original story:

As day broke in Iowa Monday, a new poll showed the presidential candidates there in positions that were largely the same as what they had been seeing for the past week. Businessman Donald Trump, the leader in the Republican contest, had extended his lead over second place Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 31 to 24 percent while third place Florida Sen. Marco Rubio registered with 17 percent of the vote in the state. On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 49 percent to 46 percent.

For both Sanders and Trump, the Quinnipiac University poll showed, the key to winning Monday night’s caucuses would be to mobilize first-time voters to support them.  Among first-time voters, Trump leads Cruz 40 to 22 percent, while Cruz beats Trump with prior caucusgoers 26 percent to 25. Sanders beats Clinton 62 percent to 35 with new voters and Clinton leads 52 to 41 percent with those who have caucused before.

“The size of the turnout tonight will likely be the key factor, especially on the Democratic side,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement released alongside the poll. “High turnouts with lots of new caucus participants likely would mean a good night for Sen. Bernie Sanders, and for Donald Trump.”

There were slight changes in the numbers, however. Cruz dropped 5 points since the most recent poll released Jan. 26 while Rubio was up 4 percentage points. That loss of momentum for the Texan and new surge for the Floridian raises the unlikely possibility that Rubio could show a second-place finish, Brown noted.


Cruz was one of the best-positioned candidates, money-wise, in the GOP race, according to new Federal Election Commission data released Monday and analyzed by Politico. Cruz and his associated super PACs had about $44 million cash on hand. Rubio, who had just $9 million in the bank, showed promise in his filings, though, and had picked up support from Wall Street financiers and former donors to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Trump, who is largely financing his own campaign, has mostly refused big-money donations to his campaign.

On the Democratic side, Clinton led Sanders overall in fundraising. Her committee and associated super PAC had spent about $8 million on ads in the first month of the year and had $67 million in cash on hand. Sanders had just $18 million in the bank.

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 890 likely Iowa Republican caucus participants between Jan. 25 and Jan. 31 with a margin of error of 3.3 percent. It also surveyed 919 likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers with a margin of error of 3.2 percent. The interviews were conducted live via land lines and cell phones.

Aflag3 Iowans were preparing Monday to take part in caucuses that were scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CST. Photo: Getty Images