Clinton barely won the first DNC primaries with only a few hundred votes and several flips of a coin ahead of Sanders.
A complete count of the votes cast in Iowa on Monday for the democratic nominee showed Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in a virtual tie, with Clinton winning by only a fraction of a percent and just a few hundred votes ahead of Sanders.
Democratic caucus-goers were choosing between Clinton’s pledge to use her wealth of experience in government to bring about steady progress on Democratic ideals and Sanders’ call for radical change in a system he says is rigged against ordinary Americans. Young voters overwhelmingly backed Sanders.
Clinton, the former secretary of state, US senator and first lady, entered the Democratic race as the heavily favored front-runner. She was hoping to banish the possibility of dual losses in Iowa and in New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary, where she trails Sanders, who is from the neighboring state of Vermont. For Clinton’s supporters, the tight race with Sanders was sure to bring back painful memories of her loss to Obama in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.
Clinton appeared before supporters to declare she was “breathing a big sigh of relief,” declaring herself ready to press forward in “a real contest of ideas.”
Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri stated: “We feel like we have great momentum going into New Hampshire. This was a very hard fought state.”
Sanders had hoped to replicate Obama’s pathway to the presidency by using a victory in Iowa to catapult his passion and ideals of “democratic socialism” deep into the primaries.
“It is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics,” said Sanders, who declared the Democratic contest in Iowa “a virtual tie.”
He said his razor-thin contest against Hillary Clinton in Iowa is giving his campaign a “kick-start” and showed the American people that “this is a campaign that can win.”
Sanders told reporters traveling aboard his flight to New Hampshire early Tuesday that his message of addressing wealth inequality resonated with voters in Iowa. He predicts it will resonate in the early voting states of New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
Polls show the Vermont senator leading Clinton in New Hampshire. But Sanders would not say whether he considers anything less than victory there a successful outcome. He says his campaign is in it “for the long haul” and predicts that “we are going to win some states, we are going to lose some states.”
But Sanders says he took a “giant step” in Iowa to overcome doubts among voters that he could win a general election.
Despite Sanders’ strong showing, he still faces an uphill battle against Clinton, who has deep ties throughout the party’s establishment and a strong following among a more diverse electorate that plays a larger role in primary contests in February and March.
Flipping A Coin to Determine Who Will Win
How close was the Iowa race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? Democrats flipped coins in some precincts to determine how to award an extra county delegate, a rare but longstanding procedure to break ties.
Party rules call for a coin flip when support for candidates is even but a precinct has an odd number of delegates to award.
The Des Moines Register reports that Clinton won coin tosses at precincts in Davenport and Des Moines.
The newspaper says party officials ordered another coin flip to decide a dispute between the campaigns at an Ames precinct. Clinton won that toss, too.
Iowa Democratic Party spokesman Sam Lau noted that the flips were to determine county convention delegates, which are only fractions of the state delegates awarded to candidates.