New Hampton Ward 3 Democrats caucus on Monday night.

UPDATE: Sanders closes the gap on 'Mayor Pete'

Three days after caucuses, there's no clear-cut winner in Iowa Democratic race

The winner of the Iowa caucuses remains up in the air as the latest results released by the Iowa Democratic Party show that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is closing the gap on South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Buttigieg had 26.2 percent of the votes while Sanders had 26.1 percent and both had the equivalent of 11 state delegates. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was third with 18.2 percent and five state delegate equivalents. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar rounded out the top five with 15.8 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively.

The caucuses were held Monday night, but as of early Thursday afternoon, the state party was unable to declare a winner.
Results were delayed, Democratic Party officials said, because of problems with an app created for precinct captains to share results with the state party in Des Moines.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

The Iowa Democratic Party finally released results — albeit partial ones — Tuesday afternoon, almost 22 hours after the caucuses started on Monday.

And “Mayor Pete” — South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who visited Chickasaw County last week — appeared to be scoring what some would consider a major upset, racking up 26.9 percent of the vote to lead the way with 62 percent of precincts reporting. Bernie Sanders was second with 25.1 percent, Elizabeth Warren was third at 18.3 percent, Joe Biden was fourth at 15.6 percent and Amy Klobuchar was fifth at 12.6 percent.

If the results hold, maybe the most surprising finish is Biden’s as the former vice president was expected to be near the top of the caucuses.

VERSION OF OUR STORY EARLIER TUESDAY FOLLOWS:

When it comes to Monday night’s caucuses, about the only thing one could do was cue the “Jeopardy!” theme song.

Except the song didn’t play for 30 seconds, it played for hours and hours and hours because, depending on whom you talk to, an app used by the Iowa Democratic Party was faulty or the Democrats themselves just simply botched the whole affair.

When we went to bed Monday night, here’s all we knew: President Donald Trump, as expected, had rolled to an easy victory in the GOP caucuses. As far as the Democrats were concerned? Nothing, not a single iota of results were reported.

It was, to put it bluntly, a disaster, one that had Iowans — both Democrats and Republicans —  banding together in an effort to keep the state’s “first-in-the-nation” status in future elections after numerous national media outlets and political experts called for the demise of the caucus system.

Iowa Democratic Party officials said Monday night they found “irregularities” as results came in on the app that was created just for the caucuses but said results would be coming in “soon.” Soon turned into hours and days, and as of Tuesday, party leaders were saying they would release some results at 4 p.m. but that it might take days before the true winner was known.

And besides Iowa’s caucus system, the biggest losers were the candidates, who spent millions of dollars in the Hawkeye State, only to get absolutely no “bounce” as the they headed to New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on Tuesday.

So what did they do? A host of Democrats claimed “victory.”

Add it all up, and it spelled disaster for the caucuses and Iowa, both of which have come under pressure in recent years. Caucus opponents have long argued that thousands of voters are kept away because they’re working and that the caucuses are so complicated, they scare voters away. And nationally, pundits point out that Iowa does not come close to representing America as a whole when it comes to race and socio-economic factors.

Still, Iowans fought back.

U.S. Sens. Charles Grasley and Joni Ernest, along with Gov. Kim Reynolds, released a joint statement in which all three Republicans expressed support for the caucus system because its grassroots process is led by what they called “everyday Americans.”

“Iowa’s large population of independent voters and its practice of careful deliberation contributes greatly to the national presidential primary and makes it the ideal state to kick off the nominating process,” read the statement that was released on Tuesday.

“Iowa’s bipartisan first-in-the-nation status helped lead to the nomination of President Obama and has the full backing of President Trump. The process is not suffering because of a short delay in knowing the final results.”

And Trump appeared to back Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status in a tweet he posted on Twitter.

“It is not the fault of Iowa, it is the Do Nothing Democrats fault,” the president tweeted. “As long as I am President, Iowa will stay where it is. Important tradition!”
In Chickasaw County, Republicans and Democrats caucused without any issues and headed home Monday night fully expecting results to be available that night.

On the Republican side, that wasn’t an issue as Trump secured 97 percent of the vote. And as expected, attendance at GOP sites was down from 2016 because

Trump is basically running unopposed for his party’s nomination.

Both statewide and locally, Democratic participation appeared flat, which surprised some experts who thought turnout could rival the 2008 record turnout.

 

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