Texas Senator Ted Cruz has won the Iowa Republican caucuses, the first vote to choose US presidential candidates.
“Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives,” he declared, to great applause, as he railed against Washington, lobbyists and the media.
He took 28% of the Republican vote, beating his rival, the frontrunner Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio.
Votes in the Democratic race are still being counted, with Hillary Clinton’s camp saying they have narrowly won.
The aim of the primary and caucus races in the coming months is to determine which candidates will stand for the two main parties in the November presidential election.
Iowa caucus results
Republican vote, 99% reported:
- Ted Cruz: 28%, eight delegates
- Donald Trump: 24%, seven delegates
- Marco Rubio: 23%, seven delegates
- Ben Carson: 9%, three delegates
- Rand Paul, Jeb Bush: one delegate each. Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and Rick Santorum: no delegates
Democratic vote, 99% reported:
- Hillary Clinton: 50%, 22 delegates
- Bernie Sanders 50%, 21 delegates
- Martin O’Malley, 1%, no delegates
Her spokesman Brian Fallon said the former secretary of state and first lady would beat Bernie Sanders, a 74-year-old senator from Vermont, by two delegates in Iowa.
In five precincts the vote was decided by the toss of a coin – all going to Ms Clinton,according to the Des Moines Register.
Mr Sanders said it was a “virtual tie” and Mrs Clinton told her supporters she was “breathing a sigh of relief”.
There was no such ambiguity from Republican victor Mr Cruz, whose triumph was reward for months spent criss-crossing the state to woo influential conservative and evangelical leaders.
As country music blared at his Des Moines rally, the 45-year-old conservative, who is disliked by the Republican party leadership, relished his victory.
“Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of the United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment,” said Mr Cruz.