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The Latest From Democrats In Iowa, And What's Next For Candidates In New Hampshire

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Three days after voters in Iowa caucused for their favorite candidate in the nominating contest, all the results are now in. But there is still no declared winner, and the Associated Press says it's unable to call the race. NPR's Domenico Montanaro joins us now to unspool these developments. And, Domenico, help me sort this out. Do we have an answer or not? And if so, from whom?

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Well, drumroll - we finally have 100% of the vote in in Iowa only three days after we were expecting (laughter), and no one is making a call. The Associated Press said tonight that it is not going to be able to do that because of the irregularities in the race. They're going to wait for the Iowa Democratic Party to finalize its count - and if there's any recanvassing, which the Democratic National Committee had asked for today, even though they can't - only a candidate can do that - and if there's a recount. So AP is really slowing it down. They're just going to wait till everything is absolutely in. But what the results show us is what we've been seeing. It's a - basically, a tie between Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders at the top, with Buttigieg narrowly, by a squeaker, edging out Bernie Sanders by just two estimated statewide delegates - 26.2% of the delegates to 26.1. It really does not get closer than that.

CORNISH: But how is unable to call a race different from a race being too close to call? Like, you have all - It's 100% now. I'm getting lost here.

MONTANARO: Well, it's still too close to call. But, you know, sometimes, this happens in some races, where they just will wait for a certification to come through. You know, calling a race really has to do more with a projection and trying to figure out who's going to win. We've got 100% in. I suspect some other news organizations that have their own decision desks may wind up using language like Buttigieg being the apparent winner. And sometimes, they'll do that to wait until they have everything in and certified if there's a recanvassing, et cetera, et cetera.

CORNISH: You made this distinction about the number of delegates. Bernie Sanders has been out talking about raw votes, right? Can you talk about what we're hearing from him?

MONTANARO: Absolutely. Bernie Sanders is saying, look. For the first time, Iowa has released the raw vote total. And he won the most raw votes, and that's what he wanted to focus on today. Here he was in New Hampshire talking about that.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BERNIE SANDERS: And when 6,000 more people come out for you in an election than your nearest opponent, we here in northern New England call that a victory.

MONTANARO: So, of course, he's saying that in New Hampshire, which is a primary state - kind of funny because Sanders does very well, actually, overall in caucus states in 2016 - did very well - because he is such a strong activist base. But he's really stressing, look; he won the popular vote, essentially, in that race. But now the race moves to New Hampshire.

Importantly, behind Sanders and Buttigieg in Iowa was Elizabeth Warren. She finished third with 18%. And you know what? She really needs a win in New Hampshire. At least, she needs to do better than Sanders because they're competing in that progressive lane. If she finishes again behind Sanders, it's going to be really tough to her - for her to kind of break through. The other thing to really notice here - Vice President Joe Biden - former Vice President Joe Biden finishing fourth. You know, the moderates really split up the vote between him, Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, who only finished a few points behind Biden in Iowa. It's not a good finish for him.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro with the latest on the Iowa caucuses.

Thanks so much.

MONTANARO: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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