Iowa Republican Caucus LIVE Follow the Chron39s coverage as thousands

Iowa Republican Caucus LIVE: Follow the Chron's coverage as thousands defy the state's strict voting ban as Trump heads for a stunning victory

Thousands of Iowans will flock to precincts tonight in freezing temperatures to support their Republican presidential candidate in the caucuses.

Voting begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Time (8:00 p.m. Eastern Time) in the first official event of the GOP race for the White House.

In the latest poll, Donald Trump enters the race as the favorite with a clear lead of 28 points.

Follow 's live coverage of the blockbuster evening's preparations.

After more than a year of campaigning, the Republicans vying for the presidency finally face a vote tonight.

Thousands in Iowa will brave dangerously subzero temperatures to support their candidates in the first round of the GOP primary.

will provide ongoing coverage of any developments throughout the day before voting begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. (8 p.m. ET).

Here's everything you need to know about what's about to happen.

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Nikki Haley addresses Iowa voters for the final time: “The tone at the top matters” and “our best days are ahead of us”

“The tone at the top is important.” “The ability to get things done is important,” Haley told Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy.

“We don’t need four more years of chaos,” she continued.

“I'm an accountant and I know what it takes to get the economy moving again.” “I was a two-term governor who hit double-digit unemployment and became a powerhouse.”

“I dealt with Russia, China and North Korea every day. This is a chance to reset. We can do this. If you join me and the caucus, I promise you that our best days are ahead of us,” she said in a direct appeal to Iowa voters.

Vivek Ramaswamy reveals he ran into a snow ditch in freezing Iowa

2024 hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy got into a ditch on the way to Des Moines.

“I just returned to Des Moines from northwest Iowa after a 5+ hour drive in the snow,” he wrote on X.

“Got stuck in snow ditch on the way.” Five of us tried to push the SUV out and finally made it with the extra help of a good Iowan. “Our next seven events will continue as planned, starting at 9 a.m. in Coralville,” he said on the social media platform.

The candidate made a final pitch to caucus-goers on Fox & Friends Monday morning, saying he would “fight corruption” and “tell the truth.”

“If you want someone to shut down this deep state and revitalize national identity for the next generation, I ask you to brave the cold and run for me tonight and save this country, and we are grateful for that process. “

Biden's campaign team is “excited about the fight ahead” and is watching “closely” what happens. Iowa is preparing to fight Trump

The Biden campaign is already preparing for the general election campaign and will “closely” monitor the results of the Iowa caucus.

Michael Tyler, communications director for the Biden campaign, said in an appearance on CNN This Morning that the campaign is “excited about the fight ahead.”

Tyler said the campaign is “poised to convey to the American people the stark contrast between the president, who is fighting for more freedom and more democracy, and these MAGA extremists led by Donald Trump who want to destroy the fabric of American democracy.”

“We have been preparing for this fight since launching in April 2023 and are now expanding our operation to meet the challenge posed by Donald Trump and the threat he poses to American democracy.”

Trump says a vote for Vivek is a wasted vote as he steps up attacks on his rival Ramaswamy

Donald Trump said supporting Vivek Ramaswamy in the Iowa caucus would be a “wasted vote” as he stepped up attacks on his Republican rival.

The former president has changed his tune on the biotech entrepreneur, who is ranked fourth in the polls.

He has accused Ramaswamy of “fraudulent campaign tricks” in the run-up to the first Republican primary.

On Monday morning, he sent out a message in all caps on Truth Social.

A vote for Vivek is a wasted vote. I like VIVEK, but he played it too “cute” for us. TONIGHT IN THE CAUCUS: VOTE FOR DONALD J. TRUMP, INCREASE THE NUMBERS!!! IN NOVEMBER WE MUST TAKE BACK OUR VERY DIFFICULT NATION – A NATION IN DOWNSHIP – FROM THE CROOKED JOE BIDEN AND THE RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS AND THINGS THAT DESTROY THEM. MAGA!!!

A foot of snow and subzero temperatures won't stop Eli Weltman from celebrating his 22,385th birthday. Knock on the door of the season.

His Ariat cowboy boots disappear into fresh snow as the 20-year-old Californian walks from the sidewalk to the front door in Marion, a small town in eastern Iowa.

Laura Scherbaum, 39, answers the door and listens to his 30-second pitch in which he describes working for Never Back Down, an independent group supporting Ron DeSantis in the 2024 Republican primary.

It's a victory. She fills out one of his “Commit to Caucus” forms and says she will show up Monday to support the Florida governor, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president against Joe Biden.

It seems a long time ago since DeSantis was a rising star and the leading candidate to win. In Iowa, the first state to elect his preferred candidate, polls show he is now about thirty points behind Donald Trump.

But the Never Back Down super PAC is on the line. If it can't win the state for DeSantis, then it's trying to use its massive fundraising machine and ground game to give him a strong second-place finish and cement him as the best alternative to Trump.

And with more snow on the way and temperatures forecast to fall as low as minus 7 degrees Celsius on Monday, anything could happen if people stay at home.

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Can Iowa voters actually predict who will be president?

Since the caucuses were reestablished in 1972, they have only correctly predicted who would win the presidency three times since there was no incumbent on the ballot.

The first time came in 1976, when a peanut farmer became governor of Georgia. Jimmy Carter won the state for the Democrats.

Carter was not well known, but his efforts in Iowa catapulted him to the White House, where he remained for one term after defeating incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford, who took office after President Richard Nixon was defeated in the wake of the Watergate scandal had resigned.

The only time the caucuses elected a Republican president was in 2000, when Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the son of former President George HW Bush, handily won the Iowa caucuses.

Iowans tend to vote for more conservative candidates – like Bush – so the candidate who became the Texas governor's main rival, Sen. John McCain, focused more attention on winning the New Hampshire primary, which he did .

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