Hillary Clinton won the Iowa Democratic caucuses in the closest race in the state party's history, officials confirmed Tuesday.
State Democratic chairman Andy McGuire said more than 170,000 Iowans participated in caucuses across the state, one of the biggest turnouts ever. Clinton claimed 23 Iowa delegates, Sanders 21.
Thus Clinton's political entourage rolls into New Hampshire with a razor-thin victory over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who took solace in his strong showing.
"I am so thrilled that I am coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa," a jubilant Clinton said at a rally in Nashua. "I can tell you, I've won there and I've lost there. And it's a lot better to win!"
On the Republican side, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also marched triumphantly into the Granite State, having vanquished Donald Trump with a bit more breathing room.
"God bless the great state of Iowa," Cruz tweeted after locking up a 3-point victory over Trump, who edged Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for second Monday night. "Let me first of all say 'To God be the glory.' Tonight is a victory for the grassroots."
Clinton's win was a bit murkier. With all but one Democratic precinct reporting in Iowa early Tuesday, Clinton's lead over the Vermont senator was less than 1 percentage point. The party did not declare a winner until after 1 p.m. ET.
Sanders, who arrived in New Hampshire early Tuesday in advance of the Feb. 9 primary, shrugged off concerns about the Iowa outcome.
"Last night in Iowa we took on the most powerful political organization in the county," he said at a rally in Keene, N.H. "Last night we came back from 50-point deficit in the polls, and last night we began a political revolution not just in Iowa, not just in New Hampshire, but all over this country."
Recent polls show Sanders with a double-digit lead over Clinton in New Hampshire, Sanders’ neighboring state. Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Tuesday that the big turnout in Iowa will put a brighter spotlight on New Hampshire and give the campaign a “slingshot effect” going into the Nevada caucuses Feb. 20, South Carolina a week later and then March 1 – Super Tuesday — when 11 states go to the polls.
Clinton has a hefty lead in South Carolina and has long had an advantage with minority voters, who make up a large share of the primary electorate. However, Briggs predicted “real movement” in South Carolina as the campaign continues meeting with clergy and community leaders.
“It’s not going to be the firewall that some people have said for Secretary Clinton,” Briggs said. “I’m not here today predicting victory there, but I think the dynamics of South Carolina have been changing already, even before Iowa. With the result in Iowa the prospects are going to improve.”
On March 1, the Sanders campaign expects to win in Vermont and be competitive in several other states, including Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado and Alabama, Briggs said.
On the Republican side, Cruz told CNN he has the money and grassroots organization to replicate his Iowa victory in a number of upcoming primaries.
"This is the power of the conservative grassroots," Cruz said. With a rush of contests over the next eight weeks, Cruz also said "it is entirely possible we will know our nominee by the end of March."
Trump, who saw double-digit leads in recent New Hampshire polling, broke a 16-hour Twitter silence late Tuesday morning: "My experience in Iowa was a great one. I started out with all of the experts saying I couldn't do well there and ended up in 2nd place. Nice."
Ensuing tweets weren't quite so gracious, however. He complained that media coverage of his Iowa results was unfair and even took a jab at voters while questioning his decision to fund his campaign.
"I don't believe I have been given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one," he said. "I will keep doing, but not worth it!"
Rubio was encouraged by his close, third-place finish. "This is no ordinary election," Rubio told supporters, calling the result an important step to "winning this election." Rubio also claimed the endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, whose state holds a key GOP primary Feb. 20.
"We (Republicans) have one shot in 2016 to beat Hillary Clinton and that shot is Marco Rubio," Scott said in a video released by the Rubio campaign. "And, with him as our candidate, we win."
Rubio's success also made him a target. GOP hopeful Chris Christie, who paid little attention to Iowa while pressing his case in New Hampshire, said Tuesday that Rubio is ducking questions about his record and described the Florida senator as "the boy in the bubble."
While the leaders marched on, Iowa was the end of the line for at least two candidates. Democrat Martin O'Malley and Republican Mike Huckabee said their goodbyes after barely registering in their respective caucuses.
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who won here eight years ago, blamed his failed campaign on illness: “Voters are sick of me,” he quipped.
O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, thanked his campaign workers, saying his showing was no reflection on their hard work.
"Look gang," he said. "In conclusion, there is no conclusion. This fight continues. We fought very, very hard in order to give the people a choice, and the people have made their choice tonight."
Bacon reported from McLean, Va. Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY; Jason Clayworth, The Des Moines Register