It’s been 229 days since Donald Trump rode down that escalator at Trump Tower and flipped the 2016 presidential race on its head.
Tonight, finally, we move past polls and cable news interviews and get to some actual voting. Will Trump really really run the table? Will Bernie’s enthusiastic supporters show up to caucus? Who knows?
SPOTTED IN DES MOINES! & tune into @MSNBC right now for special #IowaCaucus coverage with @MeetThePress‘ @ChuckTodd pic.twitter.com/6r6qIKgfd6
— NBC News PR (@NBCNewsPR) January 31, 2016
As the day began, MSNBC’s Morning Joe was back at Java Joe’s Coffee in Des Moines, a tradition dating back long enough the coffee shop’s owner said Friday he “feels like part of the NBC family.”
Are you excited for #IowaCaucus Day?! We’re LIVE from @Javajoescoffee! Tweet at us with: #mjiniowa! pic.twitter.com/vLTuwKjcW8 — Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) February 1, 2016
At Fox, it appears Greg Gutfeld is feeling the Bern–at least with his caucus night shirt:
Just saw a few old (not age wise) friends here at the #IowaCaucus. @DanaPerino, Juan Williams and others. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/fYb1godg4T
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) February 1, 2016
8:08 p.m. ET: Watch the Skies for the Greta Drone! Tonight, Greta Van Susteren will debut drone shots from the skies over Iowa, including this somewhat lonely shot (left) of a Carly Fiorina bus as Van Susteren was onboard interviewing the GOP presidential candidate. 8:14 p.m. ET: Fox News Projection! Yes, but don’t get too excited:
BOLD pic.twitter.com/DsuJOTmFT5 — Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 2, 2016
8:24 p.m. ET: You Want Numbers? We’ve Got Numbers. There’s a lot of between-the-lines hinting going on in coverage at this hour, with voting still underway, but if you prefer percentages, here’s a glance, courtesy CBS News.
If these numbers hold, that Fox News projection will be right on the money.
8:57 p.m. ET: All About the Branding. At CNN, where everything that ever happens is BREAKING NEWS, we have a new kind of urgency: the KEY RACE ALERT.
From what we’ve seen, any piece of information can be packaged as a KEY RACE ALERT, and there have been many of them. Perhaps CNN has an incentive to use the new branding. The KEY RACE ALERT banner does indicate the alerts are sponsored, by Audi:
Early #IowaCaucus voting shows tight race for both parties https://t.co/4m2XuQmntA #CNNElection https://t.co/vk25UU8aTI
— CNN (@CNN) February 2, 2016
9:25 p.m. ET: Fox Means Business. While CNBC and Fox Business both hosted presidential debates, only FBN is covering the caucuses live at this hour with Neil Cavuto leading coverage.
9:40 p.m. ET: It Wouldn’t Be a Caucus Night Without an F-Bomb. And it happened on MSNBC. Brian Williams was left to apologize.
god i love it when people swear on live TV and Brian Williams has to apologize for it #IowaCaucus https://t.co/PaeysKl1ND — Nick Robinson (@Babylonian) February 2, 2016
9:57 p.m. ET: O’Malley to Suspend Campaign. CNN’s Mark Preston reports the third-placed Democrat will suspend his campaign “within the next 40 minutes or so.”
Brian Williams on O’Malley HQ camera feed, “might be the saddest picture in American politics today.” #IowaCaucus
— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) February 2, 2016
Williams, by the way, got an attaboy from CNN vet Larry King:
It’s great to have #BrianWilliams back on the air to cover the elections for @MSNBC. Everyone deserves a second chance. He’s doing very well — Larry King (@kingsthings) February 1, 2016
10:20 p.m. ET: “It’s a bank shot, mathematically,” Brian Williams says of the tight race between Clinton and Sanders. Moments later, MSNBC made the call on the GOP side, projecting a win for Ted Cruz.
Fox News was next with its call for Cruz; Fox Business made the call at 10:24, and CNN projected last among cable news networks, at 10:26 p.m. ET.
On the broadcast side, ABC News was first to project Cruz winning Iowa, at 10:22 p.m., followed by CBS News at 10:24, and NBC News projected the Cruz win at 10:25.
10:50 p.m. ET: Trump Speaks “I absolutely love the people of Iowa. Unbelievable,” Trump said in what was very likely the shortest speech he has made since launching his campaign in June.
11:29 p.m. ET: Cruz, Then Clinton As Ted Cruz delivers his victory speech, Hillary Clinton takes the stage. CNN and MSNBC cut away, Fox News sticks with Cruz.