Donald Trump has accused fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz of comitting “fraud” during the Iowa caucuses, and has called for a rematch.
The billionaire levelled the accusations against his GOP rival in a Twitter tirade on Wednesday, two days after finishing second to the ultraconservative senator from Texas.
“Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it,” Mr Trump tweeted. “That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!”
The tycoon went on to accuse the Cruz campaign of sending mailers to “thousands” of Iowa voters that were designed to look like “voter violation” certificates.
Mr Trump tweeted: “The Voter violation certificate gave poor marks to the unsuspecting voter (grade of F) and told them to clear it up by voting for Cruz. Fraud.”
In response, Mr Cruz tweeted: “Yet another #Trumpertantrum… @realDonaldTrump very angry w/ the people of Iowa. They actually looked at his record.”
The Texas senator later told reporters in New Hampshire: “I realise that Donald Trump finds it very hard to lose.”
He added: “I wake up every day and laugh at what Donald Trump is tweeting, because he’s losing it.”
Mr Trump’s volley comes as he looks to rebound in New Hampshire following Monday’s defeat in the first presidential nominating contest.
After leading in nearly all of the polls heading into the Iowa caucus, the GOP frontrunner took in 24.3% of the vote to Mr Cruz’ 27.7%.
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Mr Trump acknowledged that his decision to boycott the final Republican debate before the Iowa contest may have hurt his chances there.
But the reality TV star, who attended a fundraiser for veterans instead of taking part in the debate, insisted he would make the same decision again.
Mr Trump pulled out of the debate claiming he had been treated unfairly by host Fox News amid a feud with anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly.
He also admitted to Mr Hannity that he did not have a great ground campaign in Iowa “because I didn’t think I was going to be winning”.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump has predicted he will win over voters next week in New Hampshire, where he has a substantial lead in polls.
The New Hampshire primary will take place on Tuesday.