DES MOINES, IA – The temperature is dropping here and the whole state is blanketed with a bizarrely thick fog. The National Weather Service is predicting that Iowa will get hit with a foot of snow in some places tonight. But for now, the skies are calm, and the temperatures remain unseasonably warm for February in Iowa. But you can feel in the air that a huge storm is coming.
Tonight will be historic either way, and not just in the general way that all elections are. Today we will see for the first time whether the support we have seen for Trump in the polls will translate to votes in the voting booth (or caucus locations, in the case of Iowa).
I will say that both the Cruz and Rubio campaigns feel confident that they will be able to surprise today. For each campaign, that means something different; for Cruz, it means beating Trump. For Rubio, that means beating Cruz. And no one has any idea what Trump’s ramshackle operation will generate today, or if his huge crowds will caucus effectively for him.
I saw yesterday one of Rubio’s growing crowds, who sat thoughtfully and listened to his pitch. Rubio attracted by far the most undecided voters of any of the candidates I saw and he appeared to make an impression. Cruz drew by far the largest crowd with a raucus packed house last night that stayed up until almost 11pm to hear Cruz speak. Trump also drew a very large crowd in Cedar Rapids this afternoon, but it was a crowd that was surprisingly subdued for a Trump gathering, and seemed turned off a bit by Sarah Palin’s bizarre introduction speech that was mostly a sidewinder against the beloved Steve King.
Nothing would surprise me about tonight. It would not surprise me if Trump won by 10 points. It would not surprise me if Trump finished third. None of the rules in terms of expectations apply with Trump in the mix and anyone with any degree of confidence about what is going to happen tonight is selling you something. But either way, it will be a historic night for the GOP.
I’m here at Cruz HQ in Des Moines for the duration of the night to watch returns right along with you. Stay tuned to RedState for live video and pictures, along with hopefully some interviews with Cruz campaign staff and supporters. Game on, Iowa.
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