How Presidential Candidates’ Iowa Visits May Have Paid Off This Caucus

PHOTO: People look on as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at Grand River Event Center, Jan. 29, 2016, in Dubuque, Iowa.Evan Vucci/AP Photo
People look on as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at Grand River Event Center, Jan. 29, 2016, in Dubuque, Iowa.

In the past, winners of the Iowa Caucuses have usually spent months trekking across the state to solidify a strong lead, much like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did this year against real estate mogul Donald Trump.

On Monday night, Trump’s front-runner position was overturned by Cruz, a candidate that made over 120 stops in the Hawkeye state, per the latest ABC News’ count. In contrast, Trump, only made 39 visits including his caucus night watch party, according to the ABC News’ count.

Prior to last night’s win, Cruz had spent 45 days in the state since he announced his bid, often with multiple events, while Trump had spent 28 days, usually just holding one rally each time.

Marco Rubio, who finished a strong third, also invested time in multiple events across the state, although not as much as Cruz. Since he launched his bid in April, Rubio has held 87 events over 41 days, per the latest ABC News' count.

On the Democratic side, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders recognized the benefits of grassroots campaigning. Sanders, who six months ago had been lagging behind Clinton, finished almost neck and neck with the former Secretary of State last night. Sanders had held 128 events across the state, spending 50 days in the state. Clinton spent 42 days and held 86 events.

That being said, candidates who spent the most time in Iowa of anyone in their party, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, finished with 2 percent and 1 percent of the vote, respectively. Combined, these two previous Iowa caucus winners had spent 124 days in the Hawkeye state since their announcement, holding a collective 389 events.

So now it is on to New Hampshire, where a different crop of candidates, including Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich have spent arguable as much time there as last night's top Iowa finishers. We'll see if it pays off.