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US: Iowa Democrats race too close to call

February 6, 2020

With 97% of results available Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are nearly tied, with Elizabeth Warren in third. The outcome had been delayed following technical issues with an app used to count support for candidates.

Caucusgoers in iowa hold signs for Buttigieg in front of an American flag
Image: picture-alliance/Zuma Press/Sopa Images/M. Hatcher

Democratic presidential candidates Peter Buttigieg and Senator Bernie Sanders were nearly tied in the Iowa caucus, according to the latest results, with the race too close to call as of early Thursday morning. 

The Democratic Party of Iowa's initial release of the results was delayed and marred by technical difficulties.  Partial results from Monday's presidential caucuses had initially shown Peter Buttigieg narrowly edging out Senator Bernie Sanders.

With 97% of precincts reporting, Senator Elizabeth Warren is expected to follow the two candidates with a third-place finish, while former Vice President Joe Biden is slated to come in fourth. 

Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had hailed the partial outcome. "No matter what happens next, this much is undeniable, that fact represents an astonishing victory for this campaign, this candidacy and this vision that you all have been a part of," the 38-year-old told supporters after the initial release of partial results on Tuesday.

Buttigieg's fellow Midwestern moderate, Senator Amy Klobuchar, did better than expected with a likely fifth-place finish.

Scott Thompson, a volunteer for Klobuchar's campaign, told DW's Alexandra von Nahmen that he supported Klobuchar because she "could work with Republicans" as well as her fellow Democrats. "I know the importance of working with people you may not agree with."

Tech glitches causes delays

The release of the results followed a tense night after the event, which saw caucusgoers widely confused when no results had been released more than 12 hours after the majority of caucuses had concluded.

The delay was due to a technical error with a new mobile app used to count support for the candidates, which were taken from over 1,600 caucus sites across the state. Iowa is traditionally the first US state to kick off the inner-party selection process for presidential elections.

Iowa Caucuses 2020
Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, Troy Price, addressed the media about the delayed results at the Iowa Events Center in Des MoinesImage: Getty Images/S. Olson

Results 'accurate' but delays 'unacceptable'

The Democrats state party chairman, Troy Price, defended the accuracy of the partial results. "We have been working day and night to make sure these results are accurate," he said at a press conference Tuesday before results were released.

However, Price did concede the delay in reporting the results was "unacceptable." 

"As leader of the party I apologize deeply for this," he added.

He added that the Democrats will conduct a "thorough, transparent and independent examination'' of what caused the delays.

Iowa is the first of more than 50 contests that will take place in the coming months to determine which Democratic candidate will face Donald Trump in November's presidential election. The northeast state of New Hampshire is next up, with a primary taking place there on February 11.

es, lc, jsi/cmb (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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