With live music and booze, Sanders draws massive crowd to party-like Iowa campaign rally

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Fans danced gleefully to music while guzzling beer. Smiles abounded and deafening cheers arose without warning. And, in the restroom, someone was smoking what smelled like marijuana.

Yes, it was a concert. Yes, it was a party.

But it was also a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the critical early voting state of Iowa, where Democrats will hold their first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The massive rally — the Sanders campaign said 3,000 people were in attendance — underscores the groundswell of support, especially from young voters, that Sanders has received during his 2020 presidential run and suggests he’s in prime position for a strong finish in Monday night’s caucuses.

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Biden makes staffing changes after 'punch in the gut' poor showing in Iowa

Joe Biden has tapped a senior aide to take on an "expanded role" in the day-to-day operations of his campaign, the first tangible shift in strategy for the one-time national frontrunner since a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

The announcement came in an email to staff on Thursday night from campaign manager Greg Schultz and chairman Steve Ricchetti, in which they also acknowledged some staff-level departures after the Iowa "punch in the gut" coupled with new hires and an eye toward Super Tuesday on March 3.

Dunn had already been playing a key role at the highest levels of the Biden operation, primarily focused on communications strategy and debate prep. The internal email, which was first reported by The New York Times, said she now "will be working closely with us on campaign strategy and overall coordination on budget and personnel as we build a bigger campaign for the next phase."

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FIRST READ: What stands out after Iowa is Bernie Sanders' limited crossover appeal

Yes, Bernie Sanders could very well end up being the odds-on favorite to win the Democratic nomination — if he wins New Hampshire and Nevada.

And especially if Pete Buttigieg/Joe Biden/Michael Bloomberg split up the vote in the party’s moderate lane beginning on Super Tuesday.

But now that the dust — or more accurately, all the mess — has settled after Iowa, it becomes clear that Sanders only had an “ok” night in the Hawkeye State.

He might have met expectations, but he certainly didn’t exceed them. Turnout was lower than expected. And the entrance poll showed him with limited crossover appeal outside of his young, very liberal base.

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NBC News review of Iowa caucus vote finds potential errors, inconsistencies

The Iowa Democratic caucus results are rife with potential errors and inconsistencies that could affect the outcome of the election, according to a review by the NBC News Decision Desk.

The apparent mistakes — spotted in at least dozens of the state's 1,711 precincts — call into question the accuracy of the outcome of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus, which was held on Monday night.

In some individual precincts, it may be possible to fix the errors; in other precincts, it will probably be impossible to determine how voters truly made their choices.

The potential errors and inconsistencies take on importance because of the closeness of the contest between the two front-runners — former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

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Yang fires dozens of Iowa staff

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang's campaign is letting go of "dozens" of staff in Iowa, including its national political and policy directors, the campaign confirmed to NBC News.

“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," campaign manager Zach Graumann said in a statement.

Graumann called the firings "a natural evolution of the campaign post-Iowa, same as other campaigns have undertaken."

Yang "is going to keep fighting for the voices of the more than 400,000 supporters who have donated to the campaign and placed a stake in the future of our country,” Graumann said.

Politico first reported the dismissals.

With the majority of the results reported by the Iowa Democratic Party, Yang appears to have finished sixth in Iowa, with about 1 percent of state delegate equivalents.

Sanders, Buttigieg declare themselves Iowa winners

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday declared a "very strong victory" in Iowa's caucuses, days after the state's botched process delayed the release of results.

"What I wanna do today, three days late, is to thank the people of Iowa for the very strong victory they gave us for the caucuses Monday night," Sanders said.

Sanders acknowledged he was disappointed to be making the declaration to reporters at a campaign office in a strip mall in New Hampshire, instead of to voters in Iowa, but suggested that it was the right move compared to rival Pete Buttigieg, who made his own declaration of victory in Iowa on Monday night, before any results had been released.

Buttigieg was triumphant when he addressed supporters Monday before any official results were released and continued to claim victory through the week.

At a New York fundraiser on Wednesday, Buttigieg continued to tout an Iowa win.

"There is just no question that Monday in Iowa represents an astonishing victory for our vision, for our candidacy and for this country," he said, hailing the contest as a demonstration of his ability to win across rural, suburban and urban areas, as well as places that had previously voted for Donald Trump.

2020 candidates react to Iowa caucus recanvassing

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told reporters on Thursday that he is not concerned about the DNC calling for a recanvass of votes after a confusing, protracted Iowa caucus underscored by "inconsistencies" found in election data.

“We won an 8-person election by some 6,000 votes," Sanders said after hearing DNC chair Tom Perez calling for the recanvass. "That is not going to change.”

As of Thursday, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had his lead over Sanders narrowed with 97 percent of the caucus vote released. Though the Iowa Democratic caucus results are not actual votes cast and the percentages released are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs - calculated through an algorithm - Sanders lead Buttigieg in raw vote totals. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., supported the decision. She told NBC News on Thursday that "you have to make sure that every single vote was counted."

"Sometimes in caucuses things can be close," she said. "You have to go back in and figure it out." 

A recanvass is essentially a double-checking of the vote through a hand audit of caucus worksheets and reporting forms to verify calculations.