Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are running neck and neck in Iowa as caucus results continue to trickle in.
Buttigieg, the first out Democratic presidential candidate, has 26.2% of state delegate equivalents, while Sanders has 26.1%.
Mayor Pete still leads the state delegate count by three, but Sanders has maintained a 2,000 vote lead in the final alignment popular vote. The system’s complicated method of counting delegates is often compared to the Electoral College because a candidate can win the most delegates without winning the popular vote.
The presidential caucuses turned into an unmitigated disaster on election night. Candidates were left hanging after officials were unable to count the votes.
A press release from the Iowa Democratic Party sent last night said, “The IDP implemented an immediate, large-scale effort to collect results for precincts that were not received on caucus night. We started with 500 outstanding precincts and now have 53 that are in the process of being reviewed.”
The Party reported “1,711 precincts across the state, nation, and overseas – accounting for 97 percent of the precincts. We have collected information from all but one precinct, and those records are in transit.”
Caucuses are an arcane and archaic system of voting for a primary candidate that involves people meeting in churches, schools, and other community buildings and trying to convince other voters to support their candidate for 30 minutes. At that point, the supporters for each candidate are counted, those with less than 15% support get dropped, and another 30-minute convincing period starts to allow voters to realign.