- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Democratic turnout was down sharply but Republicans set a record in Iowa’s caucuses Monday, according to the figures released by both parties, suggesting the enthusiasm this year is mostly on the Republican side.

More than 186,000 GOP voters turned out — a 50 percent boost over the 2012 level — and delivered a victory to Sen. Ted Cruz. But turnout was so high that both second-place finisher Donald Trump and third-place Sen. Marco Rubio, had they been running in any other year, would have won given their vote totals.

Democrats’ turnout, by contrast, was down nearly 30 percent compared to 2008, which is the last time they held contested caucuses. The party reported 171,109 caucus-goers Monday, compared to nearly 240,000 in 2008.

Hillary Clinton was declared the winner on the Democratic side Tuesday after final precincts were counted.

Democrats follow a unique system for tallying caucus votes, and don’t release the total number of voters supporting each candidate, but instead present the number of “state delegate equivalents” each candidate was awarded based on their performance. Mrs. Clinton won 700.59 delegates, while Sen. Bernard Sanders won 696.82 delegates — the closest race in Democratic caucus history, the party said.

The Democratic National Committee said it considered its turnout a victory, saying Democrats only had two real candidates, while Republicans had 11 choices.

SEE ALSO: Ted Cruz wins Iowa caucuses

“It took nearly a dozen GOP candidates to get there, while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders energized and mobilized most of the more than 171,000 caucus-goers, along with Martin O’Malley — the second highest turnout for Democrats on record after 2008’s total,” Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, said in an email memo proclaiming victory.

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