Donald Trump, a humbled Republican presidential front-runner, conceded to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after placing second in the Iowa caucuses.
“I love you people. I love you people,” Trump told his cheering supporters.
“Thank you. Unbelievable,” he added. “I have to start by saying I absolutely love the people of Iowa. Unbelievable. Unbelievable.”
Trump recalled how everyone had told him not to compete in Iowa, which has consistently been among his worst states, according to public polls.
Trump was widely expected to win in Iowa, where polls had him ahead. In addition to losing to Cruz, Trump also underperformed relative to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who defied polls to finish just behind the billionaire.
“I said I have to do it,” he said. “We finished second. And I want to tell you something: I’m honored. I’m really honored. And I want to congratulate Ted. And I want to congratulate all of the incredible candidates.”
He also touted his polls in the next two states to weigh in on the Republican primary: New Hampshire and South Carolina.
“We love New Hampshire. We love South Carolina. And we’re leaving tonight and tomorrow afternoon we’ll be in New Hampshire. And that will be something special. It’s going to be a great week,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to be proclaiming victory, I hope.”
The real-state mogul finished by saying: “On to New Hampshire.”