What had been anticipated after the Iowa Caucus on Monday has now been declared official: Pete Buttigieg has narrowly won the first Democratic presidential election stop and thus leads the 2020 primaries.
Iowa Caucus Results
With a delay of three days, the Democrats have finally concluded a turbulent first caucus in the presidential race in the state of Iowa. After counting all the state’s precincts, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg narrowly won. He remains ahead of the party’s extreme left in the form of Bernie Sanders. In vote percentages, Buttigieg obtained 26.2 percent, Vermont’s Senator Sanders 26.1 percent and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 18 percent. Accordingly, Buttigieg and Sanders both receive ten delegates, while Warren receives four. Meanwhile, former VP Joe Biden leaves Iowa without a single delegate. His 15.8 percent vote share was insufficient to nab one of the first three spots.
Chaos during the vote count due to a severe technical breakdown delayed the announcement of the results. Buttigieg nevertheless presented himself as the winner in a speech on Tuesday and—despite confirmed results of only two-thirds of the state’s precincts—spoke of an “amazing victory” for his campaign.
Buttigieg’s Big Win
Buttigieg’s delight is justified. Until a year ago, the moderate Indiana state politician was still entirely unknown on the national level. He had no campaign team and no campaign donations. When he entered the presidential race, he was seen as an outsider and chastised by his opponents for his inexperience and lack of political pedigree. Twelve months later, he left all three favorites behind him. Even though nothing has been won overall with the victory in Iowa, Buttigieg will continue the primaries with plenty of momentum.
Iowa’s Role In The Primary Process
Iowa, with a population of three million, sends only a few delegates (24) to the Democratic convention in the summer where the party nominee for president is agreed upon by delegates. In the past, Iowa has nonetheless often been an indicator of a candidate’s success down the stretch. Those who do not end up in the top three in Iowa have traditionally seen their prospects as bleak.
Nonetheless, Buttigieg’s triumph cannot and will not negate the fact that in key states with a disproportionately large number of delegates such as North Carolina (110), Texas (228), and California (415), he remains far behind Biden, Sanders, and Warren in the polls. Thus, Super Tuesday, on March 3—when more than a dozen states are asked to vote—will likely show how far Buttigieg can really get in his ambition to become the nominee and then president.
The decisions for the people of Iowa of whom to vote for was not made at polling stations, but at “caucuses”—many hundreds of party meetings. At these meetings, Democrats used a complicated procedure to vote on whom they consider is the best presidential candidate for their party.
Biden Campaign On Iowa Brouhaha: ‘Significant Shortcomings’
Meanwhile, the party blamed a programming error in an app to broadcast the election results for the chaos. The presidential hopefuls reacted with expected frustration. Biden’s team even raised doubts regarding the results and complained about “significant shortcomings” in the counting process.
Democratic party leader Tom Perez called for the results to be reviewed because of the chaotic election. “Enough is enough,” Perez wrote Thursday on Twitter. Given the problems with transferring the results and restoring public confidence, he urged the Democratic Party in Iowa to begin an “immediate” review. It was not immediately clear whether this meant a complete recount of the votes.
In the next primary state of New Hampshire, Sanders (24 percent) is ahead of the Democratic presidential candidates, according to surveys. He is a distinct distance ahead of Biden who sits at an estimated 17 percent. The primaries run until June, after which the Democrats then elect their presidential nominee in Milwaukee in July at the convention.