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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

Buttigieg tells N.H. crowd 'something extraordinary' happened

At his final event of the day on Tuesday, Pete Buttigieg told hundreds of supporters at the Concord City Auditorium in Concord, New Hampshire, that he was 'humbled' by the 'extraordinary' results in Iowa and explained that he knew how well he had done because his campaign was able to track some of the returns.

"I haven't had a lot of sleep in the last 48 hours but I'm having a very good day," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said to applause. "We are having a very good day. And we have a lot of work to do so I'm here humbled by good news that's come over the airwaves today."

"But now we have got to earn a victory one week from today in New Hampshire, and I believe you're going to help us do just that," he added.

When asked when he knew he had secured a “victory” in Iowa, Buttigieg said that because caucuses happen in the open, his team was able to track the results as they came in.

"And what we saw told us that, even as we're getting the final math figured out and waiting for ... those verified results, that something extraordinary had happened, that this campaign that a lot of folks thought shouldn't even be there had taken its place in the very front ranks of this process." 

“Now, let me say that we're still waiting on more math to come through,” he added. “But what we know without any doubt is that our vision has been validated, and that this is an astonishing victory for our organization, our values, our campaign, and our candidacy.”

Sanders says he's 'very proud' of Iowa results

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night touted the partial results from the Iowa caucuses, telling supporters at a rally in New Hampshire that he was "very proud" to tell them he had "received more votes on the first and second round than any other candidate.” 

"For some reason in Iowa, they're having a little bit of trouble counting votes," Sanders said in his first public event since the Iowa caucuses. "But I am confident that here in New Hampshire, I know they'll be able to count your votes on election night. And when you count those votes, I look forward to winning here in New Hampshire.”

Partial returns show the Vermont senator and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the front of the pack of Democratic candidates, with 27 percent and 25 percent respectively. The percentages, based on partial returns of the number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs, and is the traditional result reported by the state Democratic Party.

This year, however, Iowa Democrats also chose to release two other sets of results, what NBC News' elections unit is calling initial preference and reallocated preference — part of a rules change to increase transparency into the process. In those two sets of results, Sanders appears to lead.

Read more about that here.

Weld: 'Despite the formidable obstacle, we came in second'

Iowa Democrats release more results

The Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday night released more results from Monday's caucuses, but the latest numbers don't change the positions of the candidates and remain inconclusive.

With about 71 percent of results from all 99 of Iowa's counties now released, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are still at the front of the pack, with about 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively, according to the partial results.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has about 18 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden about 15.5 percent, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., nearly 13 percent, the results say.

Why more than one candidate could declare victory in Iowa

After significant delays, the Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday began releasing the results of the caucuses the day before — a move that could cause more confusion thanks to the state party's decision to report three sets of results all at once.

The first set of results show, based the partial returns, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., vying for first place, with 27 percent and 25 percent respectively.

The percentages, based on partial returns of the number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs. Traditionally, this result has been the only one reported by the state party, and it's how NBC News will eventually declare a winner in Iowa.

But this year, the Iowa Democratic Party chose to release two other sets of results, what NBC News' elections unit is calling initial preference and reallocated preference — part of a rules change to increase transparency into the process.

In those two sets of results, Sanders appears to lead.

Read the story.

Biden to N.H. supporters: 'I'd like you to rocket me out of here'

Speaking in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden said he needs supporters in the state to launch him ahead has he goes into Nevada and South Carolina.

"And I'm counting on you to make sure you send me off in a way that — there's nothing to come back from yet, but I'd like you to rocket me out of here to make sure this thing works, okay?" Biden said.

"Because if I come out of here well, you guys are gonna set the tone for the whole, whole rest of the race. And it's time for New Hampshire to speak, and I'm looking forward to make my case all across the state until Tuesday."

Biden began his remarks with a comment on the counting problems in Iowa, saying, "You know, 24 hours later they're still trying to figure out what the heck happened in Iowa. At this rate, New Hampshire might get the first vote  after all." 

ANALYSIS: The Iowa caucuses' muddled vote count was a debacle, but not for Joe Biden

Last spring, the dean of Iowa political journalists, David Yepsen, presciently warned the Cook Political Report that the Iowa Democratic Party's new caucus bells and whistles — four different measurements of results, satellite caucus sites and a new reporting system — could make for a nightmare in reporting results.

On Monday, after his prediction came true and the party was unable provide any results on Election Night, Yepsen was even more morose: "RIP caucuses. And after the GOP fiasco of 2012, Iowa probably shouldn't even try."

But the real danger for Democrats goes beyond one state party's reputation. It's that the chaotic count and the muddled result could presage a messy, protracted primary slog that could go all the way to the Milwaukee convention in July and imperil party unity heading into the fall.

With results from 71 percent of precincts reported by the state party as of 1:15 a.m. ET Wednesday, it's possible — even likely — that Pete Buttigieg will have won a narrow plurality of state delegate equivalents and that Bernie Sanders will have won a plurality of caucusgoers' first preferences. At first glance, the biggest loser would seem to be Joe Biden, currently in fourth place. But the media spotlight on the tallying debacle and the muddled finish at the top — rather than Biden's finish itself — may be welcome news for the former vice president.

Read the analysis.