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candidate Ted Cruz, addresses a rally in Des Moines with his wife, Heidi, at his side Feb. 1, 2016. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters) There is...

How Ted Cruz outsmarted Trump in Iowa

candidate Ted Cruz, addresses a rally in Des Moines with his wife, Heidi, at his side Feb. 1, 2016. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)

There is a simple reason why Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses Monday night. He is a master strategist — and he always has been.

Still, while Cruz performed well enough to win Iowa, his rival Marco Rubio may have gained the upper hand in the contest to consolidate supporters by finishing closer to second place than anyone expected, with 23 percent of the vote.

In the waning days of the Hawkeye State contest, as Manhattan mogul Donald Trump built a sold lead in the polls, pundits began to wonder whether America was witnessing a new kind of presidential campaign — a campaign in which celebrity bombast and Twitter broadsides would matter more than the grubby work of getting out the vote.

In a clear dig at Donald Trump, Cruz went on to describe his win as “a victory for every American who understands that after we survive eight long years of the Obama presidency, that no one personality can right the wrongs done by Washington.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign rally on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waterloo, Iowa. (Photo: Khue Bui for Yahoo News)

“We’ve been looking past Iowa for awhile,” said Kellyanne Conway, strategist for Keep the Promise 1, a pro-Cruz super-PAC. “Many Iowa winners are forced to suffer through New Hampshire, waiting for South Carolina. Not us. We’ll be competing there.”

In the weeks ahead, however, Cruz will continue to tussle with Trump for control of the GOP’s insurgent wing. 

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