By Elijah Lutz, Staff Writer

Monday night, the state of Iowa kicked off the 2016 presidential election with the first caucuses in the nation, and it was certainly a spectacle to behold. By the end of the night, two candidates had dropped out of the race, the Democratic vote was a virtual stalemate and a mere 1.2 percent separated the second and third place GOP candidates.

Ted Cruz came out victorious in first place for the GOP, holding a firm lead with 27.7 percent of the vote, according to New York Times. Donald Trump, who consistently dominated the polls, came in second with 24.3 percent of the vote. Third place was earned by Marco Rubio, who earned 23.1 percent of the vote, making a strategic victory for his campaign as it heads into New Hampshire next week. Ben Carson earned nearly ten percent of the vote, while the remaining Republicans gained less than five percent each.  Cruz earned eight delegate votes, Trump earned seven, Rubio earned six, Carson earned two, and Rand Paul earned one. By the end of the night, former Governor Mike Huckabee suspended his campaign and withdrew.

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The Clinton campaign had a decent showing at the beginning of the night, but her percentages quickly fell as more precincts reported in. While both Clinton and her opponent, Bernie Sanders, gave speeches before the results were called, Bernie Sanders declared the results a “virtual tie.” For the majority of the night, Hillary Clinton held an incredibly small lead over Bernie Sanders, with a difference of three votes at the smallest.

By 4 a.m. Central Standard Time, the Iowa Democratic Party declared Clinton the apparent winner, barely defeating Sanders 49.9 to 49.6 percent. Clinton had received 22 delegate votes while Sanders had received 21. The race was still considered too close to call according to most media outlets, including the New York Times. Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, earned only .6 percent of the vote, and suspended his campaign by the end of the night..

Next Tuesday, the first primary in the nation is held in New Hampshire, where pundits are expecting a very different result. According to Real Clear Politics, Trump leads the GOP with 33.2 percent, followed by Cruz and Kasich, each with 11.5 percent. For the Democrats, Bernie is expected to have a resounding win, holding 55.5 percent over Clinton, who holds only 37.5.