Ted Cruz came in first and won. Donald Trump came in second and lost. Marco Rubio came in third but won.
The Iowa Caucuses are like the starter's pistol of politics.
If you fall down coming out of the blocks, there is almost no chance you will be able come back to win an 800 Meter race.
But, even if you have the best start in the history of the 800 there is no guarantee you will get the gold. You might run out of gas on the home turn.
But, as in most things, it is better to jump out on top than be the guy who has to make up ground.
Donald Trump thought he was going to glide out of the blocks and coast around the track waving to the fans as he claimed the nomination.
What happened was Trump tripped over the laces of his silver running shoes and lost by four percentage points to Cruz. Rubio shrugged off the doubters and over performedSunday's Des Moines Register poll, losing to Trump by only about one percentage point.
The other surprise to me was Ben Carson coming in fourth, weighing in with 9 percent of the vote. Rand Paul came in 5th with five percent; Jeb Bush came in 6th with 3 percent. No one else got the clock beyond 2 percent.
As we know, the next three states come one after another: New Hampshire, next Tuesdayis followed by South Carolina on February 20 and then Nevada three days after that.
But then, on March 1 there are 11 primaries and caucuses on the same day. A candidate can't wait to see how they do in Nevada to decide where to contest on March 1.
I think I calculated in 2008 that it cost something like $1,000 per day to keep a staffer on the road in a Presidential campaign. Phones, cars, hotels, meals, copies, office space, FedEx, air fares, etc.
Having advance staff, political people, communications staff, fund raisers, etc. running all over those 11 states and then pulling up stakes and moving on as the circus moves along to the 12 states that are still to come. In March.
Last night Democrat Martin O'Malley announced he was leaving on the D side, Mikc Huckabee (as I type this) is the only R to bow out. Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum may drop out before next week or certainly right after New Hampshire.
Bush, Chris Christy and John Kasich have at least one more roll of the dice. It is unlikely all three of them can do well enough next week in New Hampshire to stay in the race but any of the three has a shot at making the top three or four there.
Christie and Kasich did poorly in Iowa (2% each) but they didn't try very hard there. Iowans are not Kasich's people and they certainly are not Christie's.
Bleary of eye, and weary of voice the press corps, the senior staff and the candidates move east for a one-week sprint to New Hampshire.
I love this stuff.
Lad Link: Here's how Reed Galen (@ReedGalen) saw the Iowa Caucuses from his perch way outside the Beltway.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the history of Iowa Caucuses, to the primary calendar, and to the Fox News election results page.
Also, a Mullfoto from a hotel in Juneau, Alaska that made me giggle.