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Iowa caucus live updates: Buttigieg, Sanders reach virtual tie with 100 percent of results released

The first-in-the-nation voting state was thrown into disarray late Monday after the Iowa Democratic Party delayed releasing results.

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The Iowa Democratic Party announced the release of 100 percent of the state caucus results Thursday night, showing Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders neck and neck in their lead over the rest of the Democratic candidates. The results could change as more data is examined, and NBC has not called a winner in the race.

The Iowa Democrats' announcement comes after Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez called on state party officials to recanvass the results of Monday's caucuses amid growing concerns about their accuracy (see NBC News' review of the results).

Caucusgoers gathered at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa on Monday night to tally support for their preferred candidates only for the count to be thrown into disarray when what Iowa Democrats called "inconsistencies" delayed the reporting of results.

The state has 41 pledged delegates up for grabs, and the high-stakes contest traditionally plays a major role in determining who is a legitimate contender in the race. Candidates in the crowded Democratic field needed to meet a threshold of support (at least 15 percent of attendees at most caucus sites) to become viable, or they saw supporters move on to someone else.

Highlights from the Iowa caucuses

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Live Blog

Biden on the bus: Inside the former vice president's final Iowa pitch

NEWTON, Iowa — Riding through Iowa in Joe Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” bus can be a disorienting experience. The same solid blue exterior that makes his rolling campaign headquarters conspicuous on the road makes it nearly impossible for those inside to see anything outside. One passenger this week described it as similar to being on a dark airplane, shades down, endlessly taxiing but never taking off.

It's a sensation that only deepens the feeling of uncertainty about the campaign’s future. Nine months after Biden launched his third White House bid, his campaign is well aware of how the trajectory of the campaign could change in an instant at the caucuses here Monday night — a strong finish accelerating his path to the Democratic nomination, or a disappointing finish suggesting the beginning of the end of a distinguished career in elected office.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News this week as he rode between stops, Biden himself remained upbeat about his chances here even as he stressed it’s just the first step of what he expects to be a long nomination fight.

Read the story.

For Warren, 'unity' is more than a talking point

IOWA CITY, Iowa — As she makes her closing pitch to Iowa voters, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has increasingly stressed the need for party unity.

“I've been building a campaign from the beginning that's not a campaign that's narrow or not a campaign that says us and nobody else," Warren said at a rally in Cedar Rapids Saturday. "It's a campaign that says, 'come on in because we are in this fight together. This fight is our fight.'”

Her comments come after a surrogate for Bernie Sanders pointedly joined in with a group of the Vermont Senator's supporters to boo Hillary Clinton Friday night.

But Warren's push is more than just a reactionary move, there's some data behind it as well. 

Make or break: Why Iowa matters in the Democratic race for president

By now, the ritual is familiar. Democratic presidential candidates traverse Iowa while their campaigns assemble and unleash grassroots armies to pursue voters one by one. Reporters from all over the country, even the globe, track all of it and wait on every new poll for a sign that someone is surging or stumbling. National television networks prepare for caucus night, when they’ll devote hours of live coverage to the results — results that will bolster some and devastate others.

The outsize clout of the Iowa caucuses, on Feb. 3 this year, has everything to do with a quirk of history that put the state at the head of the Democratic line in the 1972 nominating process. Since then, the caucuses evolved into the national political/media phenomenon we know today. This year is the 11th competitive race for the Democratic presidential nomination since ’72, and Iowa once again stands to play an enormous role in winnowing the field and clarifying who is — and isn’t — a legitimate contender.

The 2020 edition of the caucuses, though, features more uncertainty than usual. 

Read the story.

Texas immigration legal services group erects cages around Des Moines

John Kerry overheard discussing possible 2020 bid amid concern of 'Sanders taking down the Democratic Party'

DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Secretary of State John Kerry — one of Joe Biden's highest-profile endorsers — was overheard Sunday on the phone at a Des Moines hotel explaining what he would have to do to enter the presidential race amid "the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole."

Sitting in the lobby restaurant of the Renaissance Savery hotel, Kerry was overheard by an NBC News analyst saying "maybe I'm f---ing deluding myself here" and explaining that to run, he'd have to step down from the board of Bank of America and give up his ability to make paid speeches. Kerry said donors like venture capitalist Doug Hickey would have to "raise a couple of million," adding that such donors "now have the reality of Bernie."

Asked about the call later Sunday, Kerry said he was "absolutely not" contemplating joining the Democratic primary race. He reiterated the sentiment in a tweet later, saying "any report otherwise is f---ing (or categorically) false." Minutes later, he deleted the tweet and reposted it without the expletive.

Read the story.

Iowa Caucus Day: A 2020 Iowa debate timeline and how we got here

The 2020 Democratic presidential race has been off and running for more than a year, although it's been largely overshadowed by the Russia investigation and President Donald Trump's impeachment.

From the presidential announcements and fundraising reports to the debates, conflicts and departures, here's a look at the key events that have helped define and shape the contest heading into the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Looking back: A 2020 campaign timeline.

How do the Iowa caucuses work?

The Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest of the 2020 election cycle, begin this week. Here's what you need to know:

When are the Iowa caucuses?

Monday, Feb. 3, starting at 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local).

Who participates?

Eligible voters who will be at least 18 by Election Day can participate in the caucuses. To participate in a Democratic or Republican caucus, you must be registered with the appropriate party; same-day registration is available at precinct caucus locations.

Where does it all happen?

There are a total of 1,679 precincts that will meet to caucus. The Democratic Party in Iowa will also hold a number of "satellite" caucuses (60 in state, 24 out of state and three international — in Tbilisi, Georgia; Glasgow, Scotland; and Paris, France) for those who are unable to travel to a caucus location.

Read everything you need to know.