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

In Dallas County town, caucusgoers say they're looking for a 'fresh' candidate

ADEL, Iowa — Democratic caucusgoers have begun gathering in the commons of the Adel DeSoto Minburn Middle School, a location that could feature a battle among the more moderate candidates in the race. 

Caucusing here, a town of about 4,400 people about 30 miles west of Des Moines, formally kicked off at 8 p.m. ET. Adel is in the center of Dallas County, the fastest growing county in the state. In the same county in 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 57 percent to 42 percent. 

Lacey Cornwell, a 37-year-old, self-employed Adel resident told NBC News that she was still undecided between former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. 

Cornwell, who said she identifies as an independent but supported Clinton in 2016 in both the caucuses and in the general election, said that she “just wants someone who is not controversial.”

“They’re a bit fresher and don’t have all the dirt the others do,” she said.”

Her husband Jay Cornwell, a 40-year-old conductor for the Union Pacific Railroad company, said he was going to caucus for Tom Steyer, whom he said he felt “would be the strongest debating Trump.”

If Steyer does not reach viability here, Cornwell said he’d then back Buttigieg.

“He’s young, he’s a veteran, I’m a veteran, and his lack of being in major high-level politics I think has appeal,” he said. “He’s fresh.”

NBC News Entrance Poll: Once again, liberals pack the Iowa Democratic caucuses

Liberals make up nearly 7 in 10 of those participating in the 2020 Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses Monday evening, according to early results from the NBC News Entrance Poll of party caucusgoers.

That’s about the same as four years ago, but a big leap from the previous contested Democratic caucuses in 2008, when liberals made up just 54 percent of Democrats who showed up.

NBC News Entrance Poll: Iowa Democrats want a nominee who can beat Trump

Voters attending Monday evening’s Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses prefer a nominee who is more likely to win in November over a nominee who shares their positions on key issues.

Early data from the NBC News Entrance Poll show that when asked to choose, about 6 in 10 caucusgoers say they would rather see their party nominate a candidate who “can beat Donald Trump,” while nearly 4 in 10 want a nominee who “agrees with you on major issues.”

Meanwhile in New Hampshire...

Biden comes in 4th in unreleased gold-standard Iowa poll: report

Unreleased results of the Des Moines Register's closely watched Iowa poll, which was spiked this weekend amid concerns it was flawed, showed Joe Biden in fourth place, according to Five Thirty Eight.

The Des Moines Register and CNN announced on Saturday that they would not release the highly anticipated and historically prescient survey, after a Pete Buttigieg supporter flagged an issue with the questionnaire.

Read more on the poll here.

It's not just Democrats. The Trump campaign is also in Iowa.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — President Donald Trump’s re-elect campaign held a press conference here on Monday afternoon to preview its strategy and talk about the “trial run” nature of the Republican caucuses ahead of the general election battle to come.  

Campaign manager Brad Parscale said the caucuses would be the “first test” of the grassroots army the campaign has built, adding that “it’s time to take the training wheels off.” More than 80 surrogates, including Cabinet members and former White House officials, will be fanned out across the Hawkeye state at different caucus sites Monday evening.

That’s very different from their approach last cycle when, as Eric Trump, the president's son, said, “We literally didn’t know what caucuses were.” (Reminder: Trump finished second in Iowa in the 2016 primary but won the state by 10 points in the general election.)

Asked what he thought of the Democrats competing on Monday, Parscale predicted, “I think Bernie will do well.” He maintained the president has no preference for his opponent. “He’s ready” for any of the candidates, Parscale added.

“If Biden doesn’t win big, he’s probably in a lot of trouble,” Donald Trump Jr. said, before saying he’d enjoy the potential matchup. “That is a fight I would pay a lot of money to see.”

“We don’t take a single vote for granted,” Trump campaign senior adviser and daughter-in-law Lara Trump said. “We take this election seriously.”

Midway through news conference, a protester stood up and identified himself as an “American Jew” who was unhappy with the president and started shouting at Trump Jr. about anti-Semitism. The man was immediately escorted out by security, as Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., started a “Four More Years!” chant among the surrogates.

“We’ve gotten used to this,” Trump Jr. said, talking over the protester and touting the Trump administration's actions to support Israel, such as moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

During his remarks, Trump Jr. took shots at Michael Bloomberg’s height and Hunter Biden’s business dealings with Ukraine.

Trump campaign officials also touted the president’s recent trade deals and slammed the media’s “obsession” with the impeachment “sham.”

Trump is not facing a serious challenge from either of his primary opponents— former Rep. Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld— but both are still actively campaigning against him.

So why go through all the effort? As a Trump spokesman put it, “Is there anything we don’t go big on?”


Where to find Iowa race results

Caucus doors close — and the action begins — at 8 p.m. ET.

We'll have live updates as soon as results start coming in, plus maps and county breakdowns, right here.

The view from the Warren camp

DES MOINES, Iowa — For the Warren campaign in Iowa, it's all about high turnout, a ground game built around a wide engagement of voters, and winning on state delegate equivalents, per a senior Warren adviser I spoke to Monday afternoon.

On turnout: The campaign built its ground game around engaging as wide a range of voters as possible, never making assumptions about where they’d find those supporters. The senior Warren aide said they could see turnout as high or higher than the record in 2008, but declined to give specific numbers.

This plays into the closing argument we've been hearing from Warren on unity. As one Warren aide told me over the weekend: Among those they've identified to caucus for Warren and who also caucused in 2016 split evenly between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Warren is trying to bridge the "moderate" and "progressive" lanes that we like to frame things in, but voters aren't necessarily thinking of it that way.

This senior adviser also notes the reputation of the Warren organizers, some of who have been on the ground here since March 2019, will be a big boon. Warren's team sees their people as motivated and energized — with surrogates, like Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., visiting field offices throughout the day Monday to keep supporters engaged, amid the final get-out-the-caucus canvassing push.

And they argue that Warren was able to stay connected to Iowa despite the impeachment that kept her in Washington through tele-town halls, local TV and radio appearance, and national interviews — and that she was able to establish some momentum, if not in polling consistency, with things like The Des Moines Register endorsement and backing from notable Iowans.

Iowa precinct leaders report problems with app for reporting results

At least a dozen precinct leaders across Iowa are having issues downloading or logging into a new smartphone application used to report the caucus night results, potentially delaying the counting of the first round of results.

Chairs of four different counties said they had precinct leaders who experienced issues with the app, from receiving an error that their login wasn’t recognized to missing a cutoff time for downloading it. At least one — Laura Hubka, chair of the Howard County Democrats — said she declined to use the app.

The app is optional to use but was the preferred method for sending in results, according to the Iowa Democrat Party precinct leader manual. Those who can’t use the app will use pen and paper and call a dedicated hotline to report the results. 

Mandy McClure, the Iowa Democratic Party communications director, said in a statement, “The IDP is working with any precinct chairs who want to use the optional tabulation application to make sure they are comfortable with it. We've always been aware that many precinct chairs prefer to call in results via a secure hotline, and have systems in place so they can do so."

Brett Niles, chair of the Linn County Democrats, said eight of his 86 temporary caucus chairs weren’t able to log in to the app. He reported hearing of “sporadic” issues in other counties.

“You’ve got volunteers spread out through the entire state. It’s tough to make sure everyone does as they’re supposed to,” Niles said.

Benjamin Pu contributed reporting.