A triumphant Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate MORE told his supporters that his victory on Iowa's caucuses was evidence that grassroots conservatives — not the Washington establishment — will pick the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

“Tonight is a victory for the grass roots,” Cruz declared to his supporters.

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“Tonight is a victory for courageous conservatives across Iowa and all across this great nation. Tonight the state of Iowa has spoken. Iowa has sent notice that the Republican nominee and the next president of this United States will not be chosen by the media, will not be chosen by the Washington establishment, will not be chosen by the lobbyists, but will be chosen by the most incredible powerful force: by we the people, the American people.”

Before election day, political watchers estimated that higher-than-expected turnout would benefit front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE, who was counting on a coalition of voters who have never before participated in the caucuses.

But more than 180,000 people showed up, smashing the 2012 attendance record of 120,000, and the better-than-expected turnout boosted Cruz instead.

The Texas senator won more than 48,000 votes — more than any Republican has ever received in the Iowa caucuses before.

“That is the most votes ever cast for any Republican primary winner," Cruz said. “Tonight is a victory for millions of Americans who shouldered the burden of seven years of Washington deals run amuck, a victory for every American who has watched in dismay as career politicians in both parties refused to listen and too often fail to keep their commitments to the people.”