Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, locked in a tight race with Texas Senator Ted Cruz in Iowa, on Saturday stressed the importance of winning the state that holds the first U.S. nominating contest of the 2016 election season.
“We gotta win Iowa,” Trump told a rally in Ottumwa, Iowa. “We gotta win it. Okay so we’re going to win it, okay? Otherwise we’re wasting our time, folks.”
After leading polls of Iowa Republican voters for months, Trump has fallen into second place behind Cruz in the state, which will hold its contest on Feb. 1, followed by New Hampshire on Feb. 9.
An Iowa victory for the New York billionaire would be a validation of his insurgent candidacy against a host of establishment Republicans and put him in a strong position for the upcoming contest.
A loss in Iowa, however, would make him vulnerable in New Hampshire, where he leads in the polls, and could jeopardize his candidacy, which is all about stressing the importance of victories.
“We either win or we lose, there’s nothing else. There’s no like, ‘he did a great job,'” he said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)