Trump Accuses Cruz of Fraud in Iowa, Demands ‘New Election’

The Cruz campaign circulated a CNN story aired on election night suggesting Ben Carson was suspending his campaign. Second-place finisher Trump wants a do-over.

By The Stream Published on February 3, 2016

Donald Trump is now claiming Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses through fraud and “dishonesty” and is demanding a “new election” or for the results to be nullified.

In a tweet quickly deleted Wednesday morning, Trump declared, “Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he illegally stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong any (sic) why he got more votes than anticipated. Bad!” The amended tweet deleted any reference to illegality, but was little better:

Trump cited the confusion that broke out during the caucus over Ben Carson’s status in the race.

The mailout issue is discussed here. As for the rumor that Carson was dropping out, was the Cruz campaign’s role in circulating that story “fraud”? Let’s go back to Monday night and the source of the story. As TheBlaze‘s Dana Loesch and others have noted, Cruz staff did not originate the rumor that Carson appeared to be suspending his campaign, and it wasn’t some obscure little blog that launched the story. The story was reported by CNN, in the following tweets and video clips.

These CNN reports gave many media sources the impression that Carson was suspending his campaign. Traditionally, candidates leaving Iowa head directly for the next stops on the primary calendar, and no candidate who is seriously running skips the crucial early states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. Blogger Trevor Loudon notes several outlets, including Business Insider bought into the notion Carson was suspending his campaign.

Team Cruz ran with the story, undoubtedly seeing the conservative, anti-establishment Cruz as a likely second-choice for conservative, anti-establishment Carson voters. It’s clear in retrospect that this was a mistake since the CNN report was false. The Cruz campaign’s other mistake was not immediately spreading word when it became clear the rumor was false and Carson was not dropping out. For that Ted Cruz has apologized.

How many votes did the CNN story cost Carson? And what percentage of those were attributable to the Cruz campaign passing along the story to various people? It’s hard to say with any precision. Carson actually outperformed the RCP poll average, grabbing 9.3% of the GOP total instead of the poll average of 7.7%.

What Trump does not indicate is how the Cruz campaign’s passing along a CNN story about Carson explains how Carson, Rubio and Cruz all outperformed the polls while Trump underperforming the polls. As The Stream reported yesterday, pre-caucus polling underestimated the percentage of evangelical Christian voters who’d be taking part. And as Trump himself admits, not appearing in last Thursday’s debate may have been a “mistake.” Trump also admitted Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he “should’ve had a better ground game,” a term he says he hadn’t even been familiar with.

Still, Sarah Palin is backing Trump’s attack on Cruz. On her Facebook page she wrote, “Thank heavens Donald Trump opened so many eyes to the lies, corruption and total lack of accountability that come so naturally to the permanent political class. … The Cruz campaign’s actions to destroy a good man’s efforts to serve are no different than Obama’s practice of not holding anyone accountable.”

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