White House hopefuls Cruz, Clinton hold early leads in Iowa contest

February 2, 2016 03:43

DES MOINES- Republican Ted Cruz had a slight advantage over Donald Trump while Democrat Hillary Clinton held a small lead over rival Bernie Sanders on Monday in Iowa's presidential nominating contest, the first to kick off the 2016 race for the White House.

Cruz, a conservative U.S. senator from Texas, led the billionaire businessman 29.8 percent to 27.4 percent with 15 percent of the precincts reporting results in the Midwestern U.S. state.

Clinton, a former secretary of state, held a lead of 51.6 percent compared to 47.8 percent for Sanders, a self-styled democratic socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, with 38 percent of the precincts reporting.

Iowans began choosing candidates at 7 p.m. CST (0100 GMT on Tuesday), and results were expected within a few hours for the first state-by-state battle to pick nominees for the Nov. 8 election to succeed President Barack Obama.

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