Around 30 minutes into the Iowa caucus, most major media outlets projected Donald Trump as the winner.
“CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, and The New York Times have projected and declared Donald J. Trump as the winner of the 2024 Iowa Republican Caucus,” Rawsalerts said.
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) January 16, 2024
Per NBC News:
Donald Trump has won the Iowa caucuses, NBC News projects, cementing his firm status as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump, who is aiming to be the first former president since Grover Cleveland in the 1890s to return to office after losing re-election to a second consecutive term, appeared Monday night to be headed for a record-breaking showing in the first nominating contest of 2024.
Trump’s final margin of victory could eclipse the 13 points that Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas won by in the 1996 Republican caucuses. And a commanding performance, especially if he wins a majority of the vote, would be the strongest sign yet that there is no decisive demand for an alternative as the race shifts to next week’s New Hampshire primary.
More suspenseful is what’s become a closely watched battle for second place between former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — and if they are able to keep Trump from winning a majority.
The DeSantis camp isn't taking the news well.
Andrew Romeo, Ron DeSantis’s communications director, labeled the media's projections of Donald Trump winning the Iowa caucus as "election interference."
"Absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote. The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet," he wrote.
Absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote. The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet.
— Andrew Romeo (@andrewromeo33) January 16, 2024
The DeSantis campaign issued this official statement:
Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for Ron DeSantis’s 2024 presidential campaign, shared a post echoing the same sentiment.
"They are calling it as the caucus sites are still ongoing. If that isn’t election interference I don’t know what is. They are literally trying to force people to go home because it’s already over according to the news networks. In 2024 news travels fast. We’ve become a dictatorship that picks our representatives. Wow, just wow!" the post read.
They are calling it as the caucus sites are still ongoing. If that isn’t election interference I don’t know what is. They are literally trying to force people to go home because it’s already over according to the news networks. In 2024 news travels fast. We’ve become a…
— Nick Stelzner (@stelzner_n1150) January 16, 2024
DeSantis campaign manager James Uthmeier got into a spat with a NBC reporter over projecting Trump as the winner.
BREAKING: Ron DeSantis campaign manager spats with NBC reporter over calling the Iowa caucus for Trump early in the night
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 16, 2024
The Hill reports:
The Associated Press called the race at 8:31 p.m. Eastern. Outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News made the same projection around the same time. Decision Desk HQ also called the race for Trump just before 9 p.m. Eastern.Advertisement
The caucus meetings kicked off at 8 p.m. Eastern, expected to vary in length across locations in the state, with some results available in as little as half an hour and others not anticipated until later this evening, according to The Des Moines Register.
When the projections put Trump as the winner, the second-place winner was still up in the air — with Haley and DeSantis neck-and-neck for runner-up.
Heading into Monday’s closely watched contest, observers widely expected Trump to win the Hawkeye State — but DeSantis has been investing heavily in the state. He’s completed a tour of all 99 Iowa counties and secured the endorsement of Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
“The very very early results show Trump winning big, but the early network call is a little questionable. People are still at caucus sites, and they have phones – how many people see the call and bail?” Semafor reporter David Weigel said on X, one of a number of voices questioning the early call.