Pete Buttigieg Leads Iowa Caucus as Results Continue to Come in

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Democratic Party began releasing partial results of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus on Tuesday. They said the results may be late but they will be accurate. 

Right now, 71 percent of the results are in and Pete Buttigieg is in the lead with 27.3 percent of the votes. Bernie Sanders trails less than 2 percent behind Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren isn’t far behind that in third place. Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar wrap up the top five. 

It is still unclear at this time when Iowa’s full results will be released. 

In a statement early Tuesday, the Iowa Democratic Party blamed a “coding issue in the reporting system” that it said has since been fixed. The problem kept party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus, the much-hyped kickoff to the 2020 primary.

State party chairman Troy Price declined to answer pointed questions from frustrated campaign representatives about when the party would release the full results or how it could ensure their integrity — even whether it would be a matter of days or weeks.

State party officials said the problem was not a result of a “hack or an intrusion.” Officials were conducting quality checks and verifying results, prioritizing the integrity of the results, the party said in a statement.

In the meantime, the candidates all gave what sounded like victory speeches as they head to New Hampshire next week.

So that leaves everyone waiting for a winner from the Iowa caucus — and not because it is too close to call.

Iowa Democratic officials are now going over the paper trail.

Sanders said he had “a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa” once results were posted. “Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” he predicted.

“Listen, it’s too close to call,” Warren said. “The road won’t be easy. But we are built for the long haul.”

And Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was most certain.

“So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” he said. “By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”

Most precarious for Biden: Some of the would-be donors he could win over with a strong showing are now giving new looks to Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor whose entire strategy of sitting out the four early nominating states is pegged to the possibility that Biden falters. 

Bloomberg, one of the world’s wealthiest men with a net worth approaching $60 billion, isn’t asking for money. He’s simply looking for support that could cut off financial lifelines to Biden, whose campaign reported just $9 million cash on hand to start the year.

That’s patronage Biden needs to remain competitive with Buttigieg, as well as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders, who have raised massive sums from small-dollar online contributors who have been far less generous to Biden.

Alex Sink, a Democratic donor who hosted Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race, said many donors are holding back, waiting to see how Biden does. They are also keeping an open mind about Bloomberg, whose campaign asked Sink last week to attend an event in Tampa.

Meanwhile, the first ever satellite Iowa caucuses took place in four locations in Florida on Monday night, including in St. Petersburg where Amy Klobuchar was the big winner, taking 48 votes out of 103 caucus goers. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.