Trump wins Iowa caucuses, cementing frontrunner status in 2024 race

Trump takes step closer to securing third consecutive nomination for the Republican Party after key ballot.

Donald Trump earned the widely-expected victory over former UN envoy Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis [Andrew Harnik/AP]

Former United States President Donald Trump has decisively won the Iowa caucuses, cementing his Republican frontrunner status as he bids to retake the White House in 2024.

Trump handily beat former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a widely-expected result on Monday, taking him a step closer to securing a third consecutive nomination for the presidency.

Trump won at least 20 of 40 delegates, with DeSantis taking eight and Haley receiving seven, provisional tallies showed, with US media outlets calling the state-wide contest about 30 minutes after the start of voting.

Biotech startup founder Vivek Ramaswamy, who won two delegates, announced as the results came in that he was quitting the race and would endorse Trump.

Trump’s commanding victory points to his continuing dominance over the Republican Party, even as he faces mounting legal woes including four criminal indictments.

On Tuesday, Trump is expected to appear in court in New York as a jury considers whether he should pay further damages to a writer who won a $5m jury award against him for sexual assault and defamation.

Trump’s legal challenges have done little to dampen his support among Republicans, many of whom view the cases against him as politically motivated.

Iowa has a mixed record of predicting the eventual Republican nominee – George W Bush was the last GOP presidential candidate to win the state in 2000.

But the largely rural Midwestern state is seen as an important springboard for candidates competing for delegates in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Iowans braved dangerously cold weather to gather at more than 1,600 schools, community centres and other sites in the first vote in the 2024 presidential race.

Ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Trump’s lock on the Republican grassroots was clear, with polls showing the businessman-turned-politician having a double-digit lead over his rivals.

Many Republican voters in Iowa cast Trump as the best candidate to address their concerns about the economy, record levels of refugee and migrant arrivals at the southern border and global instability.

“We need something different than what we’re doing now. It’s not working. I was making more money than I ever have, and now I’m broker than I’ve ever been,” David Brunell, a 32-year-old Trump supporter, told Al Jazeera before the caucuses.

“That says a lot about where the economy is at.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies