Bernie Sanders very nearly beat Hillary Clinton for first place in the Democratic Iowa caucuses Monday night.
The narrative right now is that his presidential bid has all the momentum, wiping out a significant lead Clinton held in the polls in Iowa last year, finishing just 0.3 percentage points behind her when the final caucus votes were tallied Tuesday morning.
The Vermont senator's democratic socialist ideas have been particularly popular among younger voters, but he told The Washington Post this week that it wasn't until a trip to Minneapolis that he realized how realistic his presidential ambitions could become.
He refers to the May 31 rally he held at the American Indian Center in Minneapolis – his first major campaign event outside of his New England base – when they were held up by traffic on the way to the event.
“Is there a wreck ahead?” Sanders anxiously asked his field director, Phil Fiermonte.
“No,” Fiermonte replied, “they’re here to see you.”
As we reported back in May, thousands of people turned out at the center to hear Sanders' speech, in which he addressed issues of income inequality and the need for political reform in Washington.
Speaking to the Washington Post on Sunday, Sanders said: "It never occurred to me in a million years that line was for us. I said, ‘Whoa.’ That was the first inkling that I had that this campaign was catching on."
Sanders wasn't the only politician surprising in Iowa. Ted Cruz won the Iowa Republican Caucus, beating Donald Trump by 4 percentage points, who in turn only finished 1 percentage point ahead of Marco Rubio.
U.S. News described Cruz's and Sanders' performances in Iowa as a challenge to "the status quo," noting how they are the two top anti-establishment candidates involved in the presidential race, albeit at opposite ends of the political spectrum.