Buttigieg Holds Iowa Lead With 100% Reporting: Campaign Update

Gregory Korte

(Bloomberg) -- With 100% of the precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg holds a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucus.

Buttigieg had 26.2% 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 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 Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez asked the state party to retabulate the results, citing the problems that caused the three-day delay.

AP Will Not Call Winner in Iowa Caucus (6:48 p.m.)

The Associated Press said Thursday it cannot declare a winner in the Iowa caucus while Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are still neck-and-neck in the incomplete state delegate count.

With 97% of precincts reporting, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 0.14 percentage points.

“The Associated Press calls a race when there is a clear indication of a winner. Because of a tight margin between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Bernie Sanders and the irregularities in this year’s caucus process, it is not possible to determine a winner at this point,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has called for a retabulation of the Iowa results after complaints of irregularities by the Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns. Part of the dispute involves the counting of delegates from satellite caucuses — a new feature of the delegate selection process that allows people to vote at non-traditional locations inside and outside the state.

Andrew Yang Lays Off Iowa Staff (3:02 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign laid off dozens of Iowa staffers after he came in sixth in the caucuses Monday.

Campaign Manager Zach Graumann said the layoffs were “a natural evolution of the campaign post-Iowa” and the “same as other campaigns have undertaken.”

“As part of our original plans following the Iowa caucuses, we are winding down our Iowa operations and restructuring to compete as the New Hampshire primary approaches,” he said.

A campaign spokesman said that most of the positions were Iowa staffers and were not considered “senior within the organization.”

Presidential campaigns typically move staffers from Iowa to other states following the caucuses.

Sanders Declares Victory in Iowa Despite Close Race (1:42 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders is leading in the final New Hampshire poll from Monmouth University before next week’s primary.

In a survey of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters taken from Feb 3-5, the Vermont senator had 24% support, followed by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 20% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 17%.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar rounded out the top five, with 13% and 9%, respectively.

“The muddle out of Iowa hasn’t narrowed the field, but there are some hints in the poll that Buttigieg could be helped and Biden hurt as the caucus results start to sink in,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The Monmouth poll of 503 New Hampshire voters who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Iowa Caucus Hasn’t Had Many Undisputed Winners (11:39 p.m.)

Since 2010, the only clear winner of a contested caucus in Iowa has been Senator Ted Cruz.

If Monday night’s counting problems for the Democrats weren’t enough to damage the caucuses’ reputation, that factoid from the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman ought to do the trick.

In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney was reported as the winner on the night of the caucuses, but two weeks later Rick Santorum overtook him and was reported as the victor. But in the end, Ron Paul supporters organized at the state convention and ended up winning the majority of the delegates.

In 2016, both Hillary Clinton, who won by a razor-thin margin, and Bernie Sanders, raised questions about procedural issues, including inconsistent counting methods and ties resolved with coin tosses.

On the Republican side that year, Cruz won first place by a comfortable margin, but even that didn’t stop the criticism. Ben Carson claimed that Cruz volunteers erroneously told some of his supporters he had dropped out, while Donald Trump, who came in second, tweeted without evidence that Cruz “stole” the election.

COMING UP

CNN will host a second town hall this week featuring several presidential candidates in New Hampshire on Thursday, and some of the contenders will debate there on Feb. 7.

The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11.

Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22, and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Korte in Manchester, New Hampshire at gkorte@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Magan Crane

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