UPDATE: 11:26 p.m. EST — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz hailed his first-place finish in Iowa Monday night as a victory for conservatives over the media and the GOP establishment. His speech was heavy on references to God and the Bible in a state with a majority of Christian voters.
Rights come not from political leaders or the tea party, Cruz said, but God. "Joy cometh in the morning," he said, quoting Psalm 30. "Tonight Iowa has proclaimed to the world, morning is coming, morning is coming."
— Gena Wolfson (@gwolfson) February 2, 2016
UPDATE: 10:45 p.m. EST — GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio celebrated his third-place finish in Iowa Monday night, minutes after his longtime rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was declared the winner. Rubio greeted supporters with his wife and their four children and praised the United States as a "great nation" that overcomes challenges and embraces sacrifice.
“For months they told us we had no chance,” Rubio said. “We are not waiting any longer to take our country back."
Original story: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz pushed past business mogul Donald Trump Monday night to win the Iowa Republican caucuses in a surprise victory that showed how frustrated Republican voters have grown with the GOP establishment. Cruz was not expected to win the contest ahead of Trump. Marco Rubio came in third. A live stream of their campaign speeches can be watched here.
Both Trump and Cruz had electrified the Republican base in recent months with promises to bypass the party's moderate leadership and bring change to Washington, where successful policy making often requires compromise. They pledged to take hard stances against Middle East refugees, undocumented immigrants and the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
But Trump, with his reality TV fame and success in real estate, had long topped national and local polls in Iowa even as pundits and many of his rivals dismissed his campaign as a sideshow that lacked the necessary substance to truly appeal to voters. This week, he led by single digits in Iowa and double digits in New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to Real Clear Politics. On caucus day, the billionaire got a hand from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who campaigned Monday in Iowa. She dismissed his rivals as “more of the same.”
Rubio and Cruz, both children of Cuban immigrants, have also battled hard for months, particularly over their views on immigration after both candidates denounced their previous vows to help undocumented immigrants gain legal rights in the U.S.
"He said he wanted to see immigration reform pass, he wanted to see people come out of the shadows. And now he’s pretending that that never happened and it did. It’s not about immigration. It’s about the calculation that he thinks he can say and do anything and people aren’t going to notice,” Rubio said after a town hall in Cedar Rapids Sunday, the Guardian reported.
For his part, Cruz’s closing argument across Iowa was “a vote for Marco Rubio is a vote for amnesty."
Cruz won office in 2012 as a tea party favorite. He was born in Canada to an American woman.