At just about 9 p.m. local time, the leadership of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign moved like a phalanx through the lobby of the Des Moines Marriott Downtown toward vehicles that would transport them to the Iowa State Fairgrounds, where Cruz was holding his caucus-night party. With three-quarters of Iowa’s precincts counted and with the race, according to television networks, still “too close to call,” campaign manager Jeff Roe declared victory.
The boldest smile belonged to Chris Wilson, the campaign’s pollster and director of analytics. The night before, Wilson had sent his final memo on the Iowa campaign, predicting turnout under 170,000; only if it broke above 190,000 would Cruz have to worry. “For now we look pretty on target,” Wilson smirked as he dragged luggage that would shortly accompany him to New Hampshire and then South Carolina. “That’s a good thing. It means I still have my job.”
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