Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic caucuses in Iowa, beating back a strong challenge from Bernie Sanders to claim the first victory in the 2016 race for president.
Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton has beaten Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in Monday’s Democratic caucuses in Iowa.
The Guardian reported that the former first lady and U.S. senator beat the self-described democratic socialist by a tiny margin in a nailbiting finish to the first election of the 2016 presidential campaign. The Clinton campaign had declared victory relatively early last night, but most news organizations at the time deemed the Democratic race too close to call.
Sanders is expected to win next week’s primary in New Hampshire, where he is 18 points ahead. But his lack of support in the south and among non-white voters indicates that Clinton may have a solid wind at her back ahead of the South Carolina primaries and the Nevada caucuses.
The ABC News reported that even before the Associated Press made the call, Clinton’s presidential campaign declared victory in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, and the state party indicated the former secretary of state is poised to be awarded more delegates than Sanders.
The Clinton campaign’s Iowa State Director Matt Paul said in a statement early this morning,
“Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus. After thorough reporting – and analysis – of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates. Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Senator Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton’s advantage.”
NBC News said,
“Based on the report from the Iowa Democratic Party Chair, we have marked Hillary Clinton as the apparent winner. The party described the race as a ‘historically close caucus.”
NBC News reported that Clinton’s campaign indicated that it would be declaring victory in the state race, and the former first lady said she was “breathing a big sigh of relief” in her Monday night speech. In that address, Clinton characterized herself as a “progressive who gets things done for people,” and as someone who stands in a “long line of American reformers who make up our minds that the status quo is not good enough.”
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, indicated that the race appeared to be in a “virtual tie” just before midnight ET. He said,
“When I think about what happened tonight, I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment and — by the way — to the media establishment,” he said. “And that is that given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”
A win for a candidate does not mean a nomination at his or her party’s convention, but victory in Iowa can help build the momentum for the rest of the year. On the other hand, a weak result in the state could mean the beginning of the end for some campaigns.
The Iowa Democratic Party said Tuesday that it would not do any recounts of the close results, and a spokesman for the Sanders campaign said it does not intend to challenge the results of the caucuses.