Buttigieg maintains slim lead after second round of Iowa results released

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE maintained his slim lead in the Iowa caucuses after the second round of results from the Monday night contest was released.

The results, which accounted for roughly 71 percent of the precincts that voted, showed the former South Bend, Ind., mayor with 26.8 percent of the delegate share. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) nipped at his heels with 25.2 percent. 

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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE rounded out the top four with 18.4 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively.

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The Iowa Democratic Party earlier Tuesday released results for 62 percent of precincts, showing Buttigieg and Sanders in the lead. With the substantial number of precincts left to count and the margin so slim, the race remains too close to call.

Despite no official winner being declared, Buttigieg has already declared himself the victor as he works to gin up support heading into the New Hampshire primary next week.

“So we don’t know all the numbers, but we know this much: a campaign that started a year ago with four staff members, no name recognition, no money, just a big idea, a campaign that some said should have no business even making this attempt, has taken its place at the front of this race to replace the current president with a better vision for the future,” he said at a campaign stop Tuesday. 

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Sanders’s camp also expressed confidence that it would ultimately come out of Iowa with a top-tier showing, casting itself as the winner as well.

“We want to thank the people of Iowa. We are gratified that in the partial data released so far it’s clear that in the first and second round more people voted for Bernie than any other candidate in the field,” said Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver.

Sanders won over more supporters in the caucuses, according to the existing tallies, but a combination of geographic distribution and a realignment process that gives someone who supports a nonviable candidate a second chance to influence the process meant Buttigieg won a higher share of the delegate vote released so far.

The results released thus far also flashed a warning sign for Biden, who had campaigned heavily on his electability but trailed both Buttigieg and Sanders by roughly 10 points. 

The Iowa Democratic Party is expected to continue rolling out more results on Wednesday after a breakdown on a new app meant to speed up reporting instead caused inconsistencies and sparked confusion on Monday, leading to the delayed results.

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