Buttigieg holds thin lead in Iowa with 100% of precincts tallied

February 7, 2020, 3:12 AM UTC

Pete Buttigieg holds a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucus with 100% of precincts reporting.

Buttigieg had 26.2% of state delegate equivalents to Sanders’ 26.1%, according to official results. Elizabeth Warren had 18%, Joe Biden had 15.8% and Amy Klobuchar had 12.3%. Other candidates were far behind.

The Associated Press, whose race calls are considered official, said Thursday it would not declare a winner in the Iowa caucus because of the tight margin and the irregularities in the caucus process. The final count was delayed for three days because of problems with a smartphone app that precincts used to report results and because of phone lines jammed by supporters of President Donald Trump and a large volume of calls due to the app’s failure.

Both Buttigieg and Sanders have declared victory in Iowa, based on different yardsticks. Buttigieg leads in state delegate equivalents, which the party will use to determine delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Iowa awards 41 pledged delegates to the convention, a little more than 1% of the total. But it has held outsized influence because it’s the first opportunity for voters to have their say in the 2020 election cycle.

But Sanders is leading in the popular vote. In the first round of caucusing on Monday night, Sanders led by more than 6,000 votes. In the second round, that lead shrunk to about 2,600 votes.

Delegates can differ from popular votes because of rounding, coin flips, and a process that weights some precincts more than others based on how many Democrats have voted in previous elections.

Buttigieg said he’s happy with the result no matter how the final delegates are allocated.

“I’ll leave it to the party to get into that but you know what I’ll say is nothing can take away what happened on Monday,” he told CNN. “It’s an extraordinary moment for the movement that we have built and now we’re looking ahead to New Hampshire and beyond.”

New Hampshire holds a primary on Feb. 11.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has asked the state party to retabulate the results, citing the problems that caused the three-day delay.

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