WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are nearly tied in the Iowa Democratic caucuses, with nearly all votes counted in a contest marred by technical issues and reporting delays.
The race remained too early to call with 97% of results reported. Party officials were scrambling to verify the remaining results three days after Iowans gathered at caucus sites across the state to begin choosing which Democrat will take on President Donald Trump in November.
A new batch of results released just after midnight Thursday narrowed the margin between Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Sanders, the progressive senator from Vermont. Buttigieg has a lead of three state delegate equivalents out of 2,098 counted.
Iowa officials initially attributed their delay to technical problems with an app that precinct chairs were supposed to use to record results, then to backlogs as those volunteers tried to call the party to submit their totals.
Even as the total number of results ticked up Wednesday, obstacles remained. Some tally sheets were making their way to party headquarters in Des Moines through the mail, which contributed to the delay.
Much of the political world has already shifted its attention to next-up New Hampshire, which holds the first primary election in the Democrats’ 2020 nomination fight on Tuesday. Both Buttigieg and Sanders claimed momentum as they sought to separate from a still-crowded pack of candidates.