Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump now wants a do-over of the Iowa caucuses or a nullification of the results for rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz due to alleged "fraud."
"Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified," Trump declared in a tweet Wednesday morning.
Trump accused Cruz on Tuesday of damaging the campaign of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson by spreading misinformation about the candidate's future plans.
"He insulted Ben Carson by doing what he did to Ben Carson. That was a disgrace…. He's a man of insult," said Trump at a rally in Milford, New Hampshire.
In addition to being behind efforts that have damaged Carson's campaign, Trump said a mailer in Iowa sent by Cruz's campaign that revealed neighbors' voting participation was malicious.
Carson who finished fourth at the end of the Iowa caucuses with just over 9 percent of the votes said he was not happy to hear that operatives in Cruz's campaign spread rumors that he was dropping out of the race.
"I was reasonably happy today until I discovered the dirty tricks that were going on," said Carson Monday night.
"And people spreading rumors that I had dropped out and that people should caucus for somebody else. I mean do you think that that is something that's acceptable? That's one of the reasons that I got into this race because looking at the level of deceit and distrust that is going on in our country, so I just want you to know, I'm not going anywhere," he told his supporters.
As the controversy snowballed Tuesday morning, Cruz apologized in a statement issued by his campaign and partly blamed a report on CNN for the actions of his campaign.
"First off I want to say that I am a huge fan of Dr. Ben Carson. He is a wonderful and talented individual, and I've thoroughly enjoyed our time together on the campaign trail," said Cruz.
"Last night when our political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story. That's fair game. What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out. This was a mistake from our end, and for that I apologize to Dr. Carson," said Cruz.
Carson however didn't seem satisfied with Cruz's apology on Tuesday night. In a Tuesday night interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly Carson acknowledged that while CNN was the source of the erroneous report, Cruz's team engaged in willful deception.
"Here's the issue, a culture exists within the Cruz camp that would allow people to take advantage of a situation like this in a very dishonest way," said Carson.
"Isn't this the same thing we see with the Obama administration? The IRS scandal, no responsibility. Let's see what in fact the Cruz campaign will do about those individuals who inappropriately disseminated this information knowing that the caucuses were not over," he continued. "They were absolutely anxious to get it out there, weren't they?"
Prior to the Iowa caucuses on Monday, Cruz told the pastors at an event sponsored by the American Renewal Project that the race in Iowa was clearly a dogfight between himself and Trump and they shouldn't bother to consider any other candidate.
"We talked before about the politics of this being effectively a two man race between me and Donald Trump, let me talk for a moment if you happen to be thinking about another candidate beyond the two of us. There are a lot of good people in this race. There are a lot of people who I like, who I respect, who are friends of mine, who I have no intention of insulting or denigrating. But I will say right now, between Donald and me, this is neck and neck. It is an absolute dead heat," said Cruz.
"So even if you're thinking about another candidate, the simple reality is there's only one campaign that can beat Trump in this state, and if conservatives simply stand up and unite, that's everything," Cruz added.