Donald Trump accuses Ted Cruz of fraud in Iowa caucus
NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is accusing rival Ted Cruz of stealing the Iowa caucuses and is demanding a do-over.
Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Trump tweeted earlier: ‘‘Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated.’’
In an interview with Boston Herald Radio, Trump also said he “probably” won the Iowa caucus.
“Actually, I came in probably first, if you think about it,” Trump said while discussing his time campaigning in the state.
Asked whether he will file a formal complaint, Trump said “I probably will yeah. What he did was unthinkable.”
A previous tweet posted by the billionaire businessman accused the Cruz campaign of telling Iowa voters that Ben Carson was quitting the race so he could steal Carson votes.
The inflammatory accusation marked a reversal for Trump, who on Monday night delivered a concession speech thanking Iowans for his second-place finish and congratulating Cruz. On Tuesday night in New Hampshire, he told reporters he was ‘‘very happy with what happened in Iowa.’’
But by Wednesday, Trump was laying out a list of accusations. He said Cruz had told Iowans that ‘‘Trump was strongly in favor of ObamaCare and ‘choice’ - a total lie!’’ Trump says he would repeal President Obama’s health care law if he’s elected. He used to support abortion rights, but changed.
He pointed to a mailer sent by the Cruz campaign that was headlined ‘‘voting violation’’ and resembled an official notice. The mailer showed recipients their history of voting or not in past caucuses, along with the turnout record of their neighbors, and drew complaints from Iowa’s secretary of state.
And Trump called out Cruz backers for circulating a false rumor Monday night that Ben Carson was dropping out of the race as caucusing was underway.
‘‘Many people voted for Cruz over Carson because of this Cruz fraud,’’ Trump wrote, suggesting the efforts may have given Cruz a winning edge.
Iowa Rep. Steve King, a national co-chairman of Cruz’s campaign, wrote on Twitter Monday evening: ‘‘Looks like (Carson) is out. ... Skipping NH & SC is the equivalent of suspending. Too bad this information won’t get to all caucus goers.’’ Carson has called the comments ‘‘dirty tricks.’’
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler told CNN on Wednesday that Cruz apologized personally to Carson for the mistake. He said the Cruz team ‘‘as a campaign’’ never alleged Carson was dropping out.
‘‘It may be that some of the surrogates or some of our caucus precinct captains ... went too far,’’ Tyler told CNN. If so, he added, ‘‘that was in error, that was wrong.’’