Seven weeks from the caucuses, Ted Cruz is crushing it in Iowa.
The anti-establishment congressional agitator has made a rapid ascent into the lead in the GOP presidential race here, with a 21 percentage-point leap that smashes records for upsurges in recent Iowa caucuses history.
Donald Trump, now 10 points below Cruz, was in a pique about not being front-runner even before the Iowa Poll results were announced Saturday evening. He wasted no time in tearing into Cruz — and the poll — during an Iowa stop Friday night.
Ben Carson, another "Washington outsider" candidate, has plunged 15 points from his perch at the front of the pack in October. He's now in third place.
"Big shakeup," said J. Ann Selzer, pollster for The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll. "This is a sudden move into a commanding position for Cruz."Some might think that Ted is peaking too early in Iowa, but that's assuming this is his peak...and I really don't think it is. Cruz is as crazy as Trump but with the crucial feature of firm evangelical bona fides. Also, he straddles the line between establishment and outsider in a way that captures the mood of the GOP electorate perfectly.
I witnessed his almost-sudden rise in Texas in 2012 and I've thought he was one to watch since he jumped in nine months ago. At this point, if he can knock off Trump (which won't be easy) I believe that he will indeed be the Republican nominee.
But it's not just me who believes that we should keep an eye on Cruz:Ted Cruz is also the favored second choice of Trump voters by a wide margin https://t.co/dgEkOKuHGg— Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire) December 12, 2015
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta handicapped the GOP race for 90 Democratic donors assembled at a private fundraising event in Berkeley, California, on Thursday night, according to a Clinton backer who was in the room, telling the crowd that he viewed Cruz as the likeliest nominee, followed by Trump, and then Marco Rubio.And then there's the Big Dog himself:
Clinton vs. Cruz in 2016? As a Hillary/Democratic loyalist who likes to win, I only have two words: HILL YES!Bill Clinton has told ppl he thinks Cruz is likely nom, but Clinton camp is scrambling to catch up w how field looks now re research— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) December 12, 2015