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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.

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

Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts on the latest news.

Debunked claims about Iowa voter fraud pushed by conservative activists

879d ago / 7:44 PM UTC

Allegations of impending voter fraud in Iowa, pushed by conservative activists with debunked evidence, are being shared widely on Twitter ahead of the Iowa caucuses. 

The viral claims originated Sunday with a tweet by Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. 

“BIG: Eight Iowa counties have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to register,” Fitton posted, alongside a YouTube video of him interviewing a Judicial Watch attorney. 

On Twitter, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate called the claim “false” and posted a link to the county-by-county voter registration totals. 

“They are updated monthly and available online for everyone to see,” he wrote.

Fitton, a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, has previously posted claims that independent fact-checkers have rated false and has claimed without evidence that Democrats want “to steal elections.” 

Fitton’s tweet has been retweeted more than 6,000 times and gained almost 9,000 likes. But it was Charlie Kirk’s tweet — which copied Fitton’s text without attribution — that went viral, earning almost 40,000 retweets and more than 56,000 likes. Kirk is the president of the conservative group Turning Point USA.

“Don’t let voter fraud steal the 2020 election,” Kirk added, urging users to retweet for a national Voter ID. 

Allegations of voter fraud are one of the most popular topics in voter misinformation campaigns. Last week, Twitter announced a new tool that lets users report tweets with misleading information about how to participate in the election. 

“We’re seeing a recent uptick in activity spreading false info about widespread voter fraud,” tweeted David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, a nonprofit dedicated to election security and accessibility. “Again, the data on this is clear and conclusive — voter fraud is extremely rare, accounting for maybe dozens of votes out of hundreds of millions.”

879d ago / 7:39 PM UTC

Iowa will test whether Steyer's spending strategy works

879d ago / 7:38 PM UTC

DES MOINES, Iowa — With voting set to start in the 2020 Democratic presidential contests, billionaire Tom Steyer is about to face a critical test: whether the prodigious spending that has thus far buoyed his candidacy will win over enough voters to propel it into the next phase of the contest.  

The 62-year-old former hedge fund manager is also sharpening his message, casting himself as an uncompromising progressive in hopes of capitalizing on the distaste and discomfort a distinct coalition of voters feel toward the political establishment. But Steyer, well behind in most polls both nationally and in early voting states, needs to turn out more than just a handful of voters tired of the political system. 

By portraying himself as a leader with experience outside the Beltway, Steyer, in the final sprint through Iowa and other early states, aims to turn out voters who don’t always participate in elections — highlighting his investment in commonly overlooked communities.

Read more here.

Bloomberg: 'No question' that Trump is 'worried about me'

879d ago / 7:36 PM UTC

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there’s “no question” that President Donald Trump fears running against him in a general election, after a feud between the two New Yorkers escalated over the weekend. 

In an exclusive interview with NBC News in California, Bloomberg looked past his Democratic rivals who are competing in the Iowa caucuses Monday, insisting his own future in the race won’t be affected by the results of the caucuses. Instead, Bloomberg said, he’s “running against Donald Trump.” 

“I think there’s no question that he’s worried about me, because otherwise he wouldn’t respond,” Bloomberg says. “Donald doesn’t want to run against me because he knows I’ve taken him on, and every time, I’ve beaten him. I’m trying to tell the public what I did and what I will do and not get into a silly contest. He can’t run on his record.” 

Read more here.

Buttigieg: 'Everything’s come down to today'

879d ago / 7:34 PM UTC

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg gave volunteers some final words of encouragement Tuesday afternoon.

“Everything’s come down to today,” Buttigieg, who has bet big on Iowa, said to volunteers at a West Des Moines field office as they prepared to knock on doors in the final few hours before the caucuses. 

“Know that you are part of an absolute force that is sweeping through the state of Iowa right now,” Buttigieg continued. 

Buttigieg thanked his volunteers for their hard work, and took a moment to celebrate that, after "all of the debates, all of the appearances, all of the conversations," caucus day was here.

Bernie Sanders has edge in Google searches ahead of caucuses

879d ago / 7:26 PM UTC

More people searched on Google for Bernie Sanders in the Des Moines area in the 30 days leading up to Monday night's caucus than any other candidate, data from the company shows.

Sanders, who has seen a surge in the polls, outpaced Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg in the past months, according to Google Trends. Joe Biden came in fourth. 

The data looks at search volume on a relative basis. Des Moines residents showed a particular interest in search for Sanders on Saturday, the latest day for which data is available.  

Bloomberg campaigns in California as the rest of the field focuses on Iowa


879d ago / 7:14 PM UTC

While the 2020 presidential candidates focus their attention on Monday's Iowa caucuses, former New York City mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg is campaigning in a state with 10 times the number of delegates at stake: California. 

Bloomberg, who vowed to skip the early voting states that have traditionally been the starting point in the nominating process, is visiting California for the fourth time encouraging people to participate in the state’s mail-in and early voting periods that start this week.

More people are expected to vote early in California than are expected to participate in the Iowa caucuses Monday. Iowa determines just 1 percent of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention. 

Bloomberg’s counterprogramming to the Iowa caucuses highlights his unconventional campaign and his strategy to focus on delegate-rich states that vote later in the primary season.

California votes on Super Tuesday, March 3, one month after Iowa.

879d ago / 5:52 PM UTC

Bernie Sanders raised more online from Iowans than rest of Dem field

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879d ago / 5:43 PM UTC

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the clock ticks closer to Monday night's Iowa caucuses, new federal election filings from the Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue provide the latest glimpse as to each candidates' financial strength in the Hawkeye State. 

That new data shows that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., raised more money online from Iowans, $703,000, than his Democratic presidential rivals in all of 2019. 

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, raised the second most with $519,000, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's $418,000, former Vice President Joe Biden's $251,000,  Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's $185,000 and businessman Andrew Yang's $142,000. 

Read more here.

Trump urges Iowa Republicans to 'go out and Caucus today'

879d ago / 5:01 PM UTC

879d ago / 5:00 PM UTC

Conspiracy theories swirl over canceled Iowa poll, pushed by Sanders and Yang supporters

879d ago / 4:57 PM UTC

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Andrew Yang pushed false conspiracy theories on Twitter over the weekend tied to the canceled Des Moines Register poll, effectively commandeering a trending hashtag to convey the idea that their candidates are more successful than the public has been led to believe.

The Des Moines Register poll, a closely watched indicator of the Iowa race, was canceled after at least one interviewer apparently omitted Pete Buttigieg’s name from the randomized list of candidates the surveyor read. The political website Axios reported that the reason for the error was that an interviewer increased the font size of the questionnaire on a computer screen, leaving the bottom choice invisible.

But supporters of Sanders and Yang decided, without evidence, that the reason for the poll’s cancellation had to be that their candidates had high poll numbers, which the newspaper or the polling company wanted to suppress for some reason. (The Des Moines Register poll is actually one of the most respected polls in the country, known for its integrity and accuracy.)

Read the story.

For Iowa Chiefs' fans, caucusing comes after long night of Super Bowl celebration

879d ago / 4:51 PM UTC

CLIVE, Iowa — First, your adopted home team wins the Super Bowl. Then, the very next day, your state officially kicks off voting in the 2020 election.

For Kansas City Chiefs-loving Iowa Democrats, Monday morning will bring the highest of highs. But for many of them, it will also come with a nasty hangover; the product of having had a few too many watching their favorite team win a championship the night before.

But, at The Other Place, a dedicated Chiefs bar in Clive, about 15 miles west of Des Moines, Democratic-voting Kansas City Chiefs fans from Iowa, of varying levels of inebriation, vowed Sunday night that they’d caucus the next day, no matter the outcome of the game — and no matter how hungover they might be.

Read the story.

Election Confessions, Iowa edition: What Iowans have to say about the presidential candidates

879d ago / 4:48 PM UTC

Since 1971, Iowa’s voters have had the first say in who might be president, giving Iowans what some call an outsize influence on the presidential election.

Some in the state, with its 2.4 million voting-age adults, have confessed what they claim to be their inner thoughts on the cadre of presidential candidates at NBC News’ Election Confessions.

“I cannot vote for any of these!” one wrote. “I wish he would have got into the race earlier,” another wrote about now-departed candidate Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana.

More than 7,000 people from across the U.S. have shared around 60,000 confessions about the candidates, the country and its condition.

Here are some of the more notable confessions from the first-in-the-nation voting state.

879d ago / 4:08 PM UTC

Iowa caucuses : 5 things to watch as voters make their choices

879d ago / 4:07 PM UTC

DES MOINES, Iowa — We've finally arrived at the end of the beginning of a primary process that has been under way for over a year as Iowa Democrats take the first real vote on Monday night in choosing a candidate to face off against President Donald Trump.

The Democratic slate started as the biggest presidential field in history and the contest has been among its most volatile, making the caucuses and trajectory of the race that will come out of them especially important — and difficult to predict.

Eleven candidates are still in the running, though only seven have actively competed in Iowa.

A poor showing could abruptly end the hopes of not only some long-shots, but one or more of the leading candidates as well, most of whom are counting on an victory in Iowa or a strong showing to help power (and fund) the rest of their campaigns.

Here's what you need to watch Monday night when the caucus doors close at 8 p.m. ET.

What we learned from the Q4 candidate filings


879d ago / 4:03 PM UTC

DES MOINES, Iowa — Friday’s new batch of campaign finance reports gave us one more look under the campaigns’ hoods before Monday’s Iowa caucuses. 

Some candidates already pushed out their top-line numbers from the fourth fundraising quarter, but the full reports give a comprehensive look at the financial health of these campaigns.

Here are some takeaways from the NBC Political Unit.

Yang turns to large number of out-of-state supporters in Iowa bid


879d ago / 4:01 PM UTC

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Andrew Yang has a lot of ground to make up in his ground game.

In a state with a quirky voting system where organizing is essential, presidential campaigns spend months recruiting and training local precinct captains across the state, who can make-or-break a candidate's chance of success on Monday in the highly personal caucus system.

But as many as half of Yang's precinct captains are not Iowans — an unusually high percentage, according to a Democrat familiar with the campaign's strategy.

That could make it difficult for Yang, who is running his first campaign for office, to hit the high bar he has set for himself in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses. Polls show him at roughly sixth place.

Read the story.

879d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Warren works to calm rising electability fears pre-Iowa

879d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

Elizabeth Warren and her surrogates are working to calm growing fears about her perceived ability to defeat President Donald Trump as she falls behind in surveys to national front-runner Joe Biden and an ascendant Bernie Sanders in the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses.

Warren's dip in national and early-state polls comes as she loses ground gained in the fall on the question of "electability," a major factor for Democratic primary voters.

Quinnipiac poll released last week found that just 7 percent of Democrats believe Warren has the best chance to defeat Trump, down from 21 percent in October. Sanders was viewed by 19 percent of Democrats as the most electable, up from 7 percent in October. Biden led both with 44 percent, steady since he launched his campaign in April.

Hosting a tele-town hall with Iowans on Tuesday evening, Warren was asked by a supporter what the main point backers should use to encourage others to caucus for her. She quickly evoked electability.

Read the story.

Iowa anxiety: Caucusgoers say the pressure to get it 'right' has never been higher

879d ago / 3:56 PM UTC

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Marty Wartick likes Pete Buttigieg, but she also likes the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.

On one hand, she was convinced the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was the best person to win back the Midwest. On the other hand, she worried he could fall flat after Iowa, when voting moves to more diverse states where Buttigieg polls in the single digits.

“I worry that he doesn’t poll as well in other states — and I know some people are looking for reasons to take the caucus away from us,” the retiree from Cedar Falls said at a University of Northern Iowa event for Buttigieg earlier this month.

With just days to go before the caucuses, Iowa voters like Wartick say they are struggling to get Iowa “right.” Many describe feeling anxious and pressured. These voters feel they need to balance electability against Trump with electability in the Democratic primary — qualities that some see at odds with each other.

Read the story.

ANALYSIS: With Iowa on the line, Biden bets on what he doesn't believe

879d ago / 3:53 PM UTC

WAUKEE, Iowa — Voters usually want to know what a presidential candidate believes. Joe Biden is defining himself to Iowa caucus-goers by what he doesn't believe.

"I do not believe we're the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump sees in his tweets," the former vice president said as he unveiled his stretch-run pitch in a school gym here Thursday morning.

"I don't believe we're the nation that rips babies from the arms of their mothers and thinks that's OK. I don't believe we're the nation that builds walls and whips up hysteria about an invasion of immigrants that's going to do terrible things to us. I do not believe we're the nation that embraces white supremacists and hatred, as he has done."

Finding himself at an unusual crossroad — the leading contender for the Democratic nomination in national polling but at risk of being hobbled by poor showings here Monday and in New Hampshire on Feb. 11 — Biden chose the day the president arrived for a rally in Des Moines to fully drape his candidacy in the theme that has more subtly animated him since he entered the race in April.

Biden is running as the antidote to Trump — no less and little more.

Read the full analysis.

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

879d ago / 3:51 PM UTC

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.

Read the story.

879d ago / 3:46 PM UTC

Iowa still bars ex-felons from voting, frustrating Democratic caucusgoers

879d ago / 3:45 PM UTC

DES MOINES, Iowa — With the first nominating contest of the 2020 election a day away, Democratic voters here are voicing frustration that their first-in-the-nation caucus state is the only one that still outright bans former felons from voting without prior approval from the governor.

Under Iowa law, people with felony convictions who have completed their prison sentences cannot vote unless they apply directly to the governor for the right to be restored. Voting rights advocates — and Democratic voters — say it's a major blemish on a state that prides itself on helping the nation pick its presidential candidates.

Read the story.

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


879d ago / 3:43 PM UTC

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.

879d ago / 3:40 PM UTC

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

879d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

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

879d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

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

879d ago / 3:31 PM UTC

879d ago / 3:26 PM UTC

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


879d ago / 3:25 PM UTC

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


879d ago / 3:21 PM UTC

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.

879d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

How do the Iowa caucuses work?


879d ago / 3:13 PM UTC

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.