116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Trump swept Iowa — and many other battleground states — on his way to a victory to become president of the United States. That probability surprised everyone but his supporters.
'You had every force of nature going against him and he did it,' said Tana Goertz, a senior adviser for Trump who lives in West Des Moines. 'I'm so excited and pumped up, I can't put it into words.'
Trump, a New York businessman and reality TV star, was leading former U.S. Secretary of State Clinton significantly in Iowa at press time. With all but six of 1,779 precincts reported at 1 a.m. Wednesday, Trump had 51.3 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton's 41.7 percent. The total 1,549,286 votes cast in the presidential election was on pace to pass 2008 and match 2012, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office.
'Can you feel it in the air tonight?' crowed Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann. 'Just this huge red wave moving across Iowa.'
Leading up to election night, Trump was ahead of Clinton in Iowa by three points in an average of recent polls, according to RealClear Politics. FiveThirtyEight.com, a site run by political predictor Nate Silver, gave Trump a nearly 70 percent chance of winning Iowa's votes over Clinton.
Democrats usually have robust early-voting efforts, but the number of registered Democrats who voted absentee was down by 4,000 from 2012, Secretary of State Paul Pate said Tuesday night. About 20,000 fewer Independent voters cast absentee ballots, but Republicans were up by 25,000, Pate said.
Another reason Trump won Iowa was unflagging support of prominent Republicans, including Gov. Terry Branstad, U.S. Rep. Steve King and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst. All three were at Trump's side during a Sunday rally in Sioux City, the candidate's last swing through Iowa before the election.
When an Access Hollywood video aired in early October in which Trump talks about groping women, Ernst tweeted on Oct. 8: 'The comments DJT made are lewd & insulting. There is no excuse, and no room for such reprehensible and objectifying talk about anyone, ever.'
But two days later, Erst announced she would stand by him.
Branstad, whose son, Eric, worked for the Trump campaign, was jubilant Tuesday night. 'It's really been rural America and the upper Midwest that has led the way,' Gov. Branstad said at the GOP victory party in Des Moines. 'Not only did Trump win in Iowa, he won in a big way.'
Noah Aron Thalblum, a 19-year-old Kirkwood Community College student, arrived at precinct 15 in Cedar Rapids Tuesday to vote for Trump.
'I don't like Hillary (Clinton),' Thalblum said. 'It's not that I like Trump, but it's the political favors and maneuvering (from Clinton) that makes me uncomfortable. Her attitude encourages corrupt policies.'
Thalblum said he had supported Democrat Bernie Sanders during the Iowa caucuses, but switched parties following the Democratic National Convention.
Brandon Harvey, a 46-year-old programmer from North Liberty, shifted his support to Trump after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped out. Harvey, who agrees with Trump's immigration policy, wanted to vote on Election Day.
'I don't believe in early voting. I think it detracts from the importance of voting,' Harvey said.
Iowans who voted for Clinton were shocked by the national results.
'She had a really strong get-out-the-vote effort here,' said Ann Poe, a Democrat on the Cedar Rapids City Council. 'She came here. Her surrogates were here. Bill Clinton was just in Waterloo. I don't think she gave up at all. She loves Iowa.'
But Clinton has never had an easy road in Iowa. Although Iowa went to President Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Hillary Clinton came in third in the 2008 Iowa caucuses behind now-President Barack Obama and John Edwards. She barely squeaked by Sanders in the Feb. 1 caucuses.
Clinton's July 26 nomination at the Democratic National Convention was historic, said Dianne Bystrom, director of Iowa State University's Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. But the significance was overshadowed, to some degree, by the rhetoric about the nastiness of the campaign, Bystrom said.
Trump frequently played up his 'alpha masculinity' with comments about other candidates, such as calling GOP rivals Jeb Bush low energy and Marco Rubio 'Little Marco,' Bystrom said. Trump also criticized Clinton for playing the 'woman card.'
'There was a lot of gender going on in this campaign,' Bystrom said.