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Clinton Claims Iowa By Small Margin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – The Presidential campaign remains a competitive field after the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses Monday night.

For the Republican party, a victorious Ted Cruz emerged from Iowa.

The Democratic contest was a cliffhanger ending with the closest results in Iowa Democratic caucus history between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Clinton has won, but by the slimmest of margins. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton was ahead of Sanders by three-tenths of a percentage point.

The results showed 49.9 percent of voters went with Clinton, while Sanders had 49.6 percent of the vote. Martin O'Malley came in at third with 0.5 percent of the votes.

Although Clinton said she was "breathing a big sigh of relief," and her campaign said it had won an outright victory, the neck-and-neck contest was a blow, evoking the setback she faced in 2008 after her upset loss to then-Sen. Obama. Given the closeness of the Democratic caucuses, the AP did not declare a winner.

Eight years ago, Clinton's victory in New Hampshire breathed fresh life into her campaign. But New Hampshire is also familiar territory for Sanders, who represents neighboring Vermont in the Senate and is well known among the state's voters. Sanders' sizable lead over Clinton in New Hampshire polls has held steady or increased in recent weeks.

On the Republican side, Cruz won with 28 percent of the votes. Donald Trump came in second place with 24 percent of the votes, and Rubio was a strong third with 23 percent of the votes.

Donald Trump, uncharacteristically humble after a second-place Iowa finish, was headed for far friendlier territory in New Hampshire, where the billionaire firebrand has been running strong.

Amid historically large turnout in Iowa, the unexpected benefactor was Rubio, who came within striking distance of Trump. Republicans had already been looking to New Hampshire to winnow their congested field, and the Florida senator's strong showing bolsters his case that Republicans should coalesce behind him as the mainstream alternative to the rowdier Trump or Cruz.

Still, both parties remain competitive.

"Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation," Cruz said.

"I will keep doing what I have done my entire life. I will keep standing up for you, I will keep fighting for you," Clinton said.

"I hear this not just from progressives; I hear it from conservatives, I hear it from others. And that is we can no longer continue to have a corrupt campaign finance system," Sanders said.

Now, the attention shifts to New Hampshire.

Nearly all the candidates plan to return to New Hampshire Tuesday where the voters will hold the first primary of the season. Before voters weigh in, candidates in both parties may have another opportunity to debate.

Sanders and Clinton will likely square off Thursday at the University of New Hampshire. The Republicans will meet Saturday in Manchester.

Two candidates decided to call it quits after poor finishes in Iowa, one Republican and one Democrat.

Mike Huckabee and Martin O'Malley both suspended their presidential bids Monday night.

Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucus back in 2008, finished this time with just two-percent.

O'Malley did not even reach one-percent of the Democratic support.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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