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Pete Buttigieg Ahead in Democratic Iowa Caucus, With 62% of Returns Tallied

Partial results come nearly a day late

Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price apologized Tuesday for the “unacceptable” delay in reporting Iowa Caucus results, then reported that Pete Buttigieg is ahead after Monday’s first-in-the-nation caucus, with 62% of precincts’ returns tallied. At the time of the announcement, he had 26.9% of the caucus votes.

With 62% of the precincts reporting, Sanders won the popular vote with 28,220 and it was Buttigieg in second place with 27,030. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 22,254, former vice president Joe Biden had 14,176, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar had 13,357. Yang got 1,124.

Though the caucus voting ended at approximately 10 p.m. on Monday night, announcement of the results was unexpectedly delayed after the IDP discovered what it said were “irregularities” in reporting. The 2020 caucus was the first since IDP instituted new rules to address complaints by supporters of Sanders.

With this lead, Buttigieg takes a psychological lead in the 2020 primaries as the battle to secure the presidential nomination as the party now looks ahead to next week’s primary in New Hampshire. Should he win the whole thing, he’ll be heading into that contest with an advantage.

The final poll numbers prior to Monday’s caucus came from a poll conducted for the Democratic group Focus on Rural America by party pollster David Binder. That poll found South Bend, Ind. mayor Buttigieg leading 19 percent of the vote, followed by Vermont Sen. Sanders with 17 percent.

Politicos were watching this contest closely, given how well not only Buttigieg and Sanders were doing in the polls leading up to Monday’s event, but how well contenders like Massachusetts’ Warren were doing, too. The competition was particularly tight.

Buttigieg’s early lead was especially significant given the results anticipated by some of the campaigns. A longtime ally of Joe Biden’s, for instance, told The Hill ahead of the caucus Monday that most of the campaign’s aides “feel it’s not going to be great.” Still, FiveThirtyEight had Biden at the top of their projected winners list, with the farther-left Sanders in second place.

In announcing the partial results, Price also promised a “thorough and very independent review” of what happened Monday night.