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The 2024 presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ripped into the media Monday evening after many outlets predicted former President Donald Trump would win the Iowa caucus shortly after polls closed.
The campaign alleged “election interference” after outlets quickly called the race for Trump, who finished with some 51 percent of the vote over DeSantis’ 21.2 percent and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s 19.1 percent, according to The Associated Press.
“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,” DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo said on X.
The AP called the race around 8:31 p.m. EDT. “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,” The Hill noted.
The outlet added:
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.
Earlier on Monday, DeSantis vowed that he would continue his campaign even if his finish in Iowa — which Trump was always expected to win — went worse than he expected.
“You are not dropping out of this race tonight or tomorrow, no matter what? Fair?” an MSNBC reporter asked.
“No, we are going on. We’ve been built for the long haul. It is all about the accumulation of delegates.”
“Even if you come in third place tonight, there is no chance your campaign is dropping out? Is that what you are saying?” the reporter followed up, according to the Daily Caller.
“We’re in it for the long haul. We’re going to do well. I know the media likes to do the speculation. I’m excited for the votes to come in because that will be the first real data point,” DeSantis replied.
After his victory, Trump called on the remaining GOP contenders to drop out and rally around him.
“I really think this is time now for everybody to come together, whether it is Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative. It would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and all of the death and destruction that we’re witnessing that has practically never been seen,” he said. “I want to make that a big part of our message. We’re going to come together.
“I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for having a good time together,” Trump told supporters. “They had a good time together, and I think they both actually did very well. We don’t even know what the outcome of second place is.”
“I also want to congratulate Vivek because he did a hell of a job. He came from zero, and he’s got a big percent, probably almost eight percent, and that is an amazing job,” Trump said. “Very smart people, very capable people.”