The stunning results in Monday night's Iowa caucuses have recast the Republican race for president.
The strong front-runner status of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcCain says he hasn't met with Trump since inauguration Mulvaney: Let states figure out 'essential health benefits' How President Trump can restore sanity to America's labor laws MORE has been upended, with fresh questions facing his campaign's organization and strategy, his own commitment to winning, and the presumed loyalty of his support base.
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzHow 'Big Pharma' stifles pharmaceutical innovation AIPAC must reach out to President Trump Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE's (Texas) dramatic (and unpredicted) victory, with a stunning 51,000 votes, is a testament to his incredible ground game. But Cruz is not former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee or former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), the two most recent Iowa caucus winners, who had neither any organization beyond Iowa nor any money. Cruz has nearly $20 million on hand, before the online fundraising windfall Iowa will produce, and a real shot to win South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee and possibly Alabama.
This is now a three-man race for the GOP nomination. It is hard to see how any other candidate has a path to a majority of the delegates, barring something extraordinary.
Cruz and Rubio will see a bump in New Hampshire, and Cruz is a real threat to finish no worse than second there, which would have been unthinkable six weeks ago.
Trump's huge lead will evaporate and he will no longer get 25 times the earned media of the other candidates.
Rubio will also see a significant bump as he tries to consolidate the establishment lane.
But that lane is crowded in New Hampshire. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has the endorsement of the state's largest (and conservative) newspaper and has spent more time there than anyone. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has won seven of eight newspaper endorsements and his moderate politics fit the state's electorate. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has far more strength in New Hampshire than he did in Iowa.
Meanwhile, Cruz has the conservative lane all to himself.
The results in Iowa made Trump's nomination far less likely, and Cruz's and Rubio's far more likely.
New Hampshire now becomes a must-win for Trump. Cruz needs to maintain momentum. Rubio needs to finish ahead of his three establishment candidates.
The contours of the GOP race are coming into focus.
Mackowiak is syndicated columnist; an Austin, Texas-based Republican consultant; and former Capitol Hill and George W. Bush administration aide.