Iowa Releases Partial Caucus Results: Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders On Top, Joe Biden Trails In 4th Place

The Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday afternoon released results from 62 percent of the caucus vote, showing South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg holding a narrow lead.

Bernie Sanders walks past Pete Buttigieg.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Iowa Democratic Party on Tuesday afternoon released results from 62 percent of the caucus vote, showing South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg holding a narrow lead.

After a night of confusion at the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses on Monday, the state’s Democratic Party released results late on Tuesday afternoon, showing former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg taking a narrow lead. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders held second place in the results that were made public at approximately 5 p.m. EST on February 4.

But the released results account for only 62 percent of the vote.

According to a CNN report, Buttigieg leads the field narrowly, winning 26.9 percent of the delegates to the state’s county caucuses. Sanders currently places second with 25.1 percent of those delegates.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is holding on to third place with 18.3 percent. But in perhaps the most notable result, former United States Vice President Joe Biden not only placed fourth but appears in danger of falling below the 15 percent delegate threshold, with just 15.6 percent.

Candidates who fail to top 15 percent, under the Democratic Party rules, must release their delegates. Those delegates can then choose to back another candidate who has topped 15 percent in the caucus vote or join with other freed delegates to form a new group of at least 15 percent, even if that group chooses to commit to no specific candidate.

The state also holds conventions at the congressional district and, finally, statewide level, according to an NBC News report. The delegates who won on Monday will be those going to support their chosen candidates at upcoming county caucuses.

Joe Biden campaigns in New Hampshire.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. Scott Eisen / Getty Images

With 38 percent of the vote still yet to be reported as of about 5:45 p.m. EST, five candidates appear headed for a zero-delegate night, coming in below the required 15 percent. That portion of the field is led by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who according to the released results has pulled in only 12.6 percent, according to the CNN figures.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang pulled in a mere 1.1 percent, while billionaire activist Tom Steyer received just 0.3 percent of the delegate total. Rounding out the field, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hawaii congressional rep Tulsi Gabbard each recorded zero percent, at least according to the partial Iowa caucus results released on Tuesday afternoon.

Buttigieg’s campaign placed a “do-or-die” bet on the first four states of the 2020 primary season — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — believing that the fate of his bid for the Democratic nomination would be determined by the results in those states, but especially in Iowa, according to CNN.

The 38-year-old former mayor’s campaign has poured $34 million into those four states alone, CNN reported. In a statement after the partial results were made public, Buttigieg called his first-place position “an astonishing victory for this campaign,” as quoted by CNN.

For the first time, the Iowa Democratic Party also released initial results of the popular vote in the state’s caucuses — though the vote totals do not determine the winner of the night.

According to the totals reported by The Washington Post, Sanders led the vote total, with 22,220 caucus-attendees casting their initial ballots for the self-described “democratic socialist” senator. Buttigieg trailed by 1,190 votes, while Warren collected 22,254, and Biden only 14,176.

Jeff Weaver, the senior adviser to Sanders, told CNN that the 78-year-old senator’s campaign felt “gratified” by the Iowa results.