Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a slight lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the count of state delegate equivalents from the Iowa Democratic caucuses held Monday.
With 71 percent of precincts reporting as of 8:00 am central time on Wednesday, Buttigieg has 26.8 percent (or 419) of the state delegate equivalents awarded. Sanders is in second place with 25.2 percent (394), followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with 18.4 percent (287), former Vice President Joe Biden with 15.4 percent (241), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) with 12.5 percent (197), according to the New York Times.
But in the raw vote total for both the first alignment of caucus attendees, and the second alignment that took place after the “non-viable” candidates with less than 15 percent support in the first alignment were eliminated, Sanders is in the lead.
Sanders has received 24.4 percent (31,428) of first alignment votes, followed by Buttigieg with 21.4 percent (27,515), Warren with 18.8 percent (24,175), Biden with 14.7 percent (18,902), Klobuchar with 12.8 percent (16,474), Andrew Yang with 5.2 percent (6,720), and billionaire Tom Steyer with 1.7 percent (275).
In the second and final alignment, Sanders is currently in first place with 26.2 percent support (32,772), followed closely by Buttigieg at 25.2 percent (31,458). Warren is currently in third place, with 20.6 percent (25,816), and Joe Biden is in fourth place with 13.2 percent (16,545), narrowly ahead of Klobuchar, in fifth place with 12.5 percent (15,598). Andrew Yang is in sixth place with 1 percent (1,301).
A total of 128,855 first alignment votes have been counted, while 125,038 second “final” alignment votes have been counted, The Times reports.
Breitbart News explained on Monday the complicated process by which the state delegate equivalent count is determined.
The process begins when caucus attendees gather in person on Monday night at a location within their local precinct–typically a school, church, or other public venue. . .
Each campaign will have an opportunity for a local representative to give a brief pitch for their candidate. Then caucus attendees form separate groups of supporters for each candidate. The total number of attendees in each group in each caucus is tallied. This is called the first alignment. . .
After the first alignment results are determined at each caucus, the winnowing process begins.
Any candidate whose group in the first alignment had fewer than 15 percent of the total attendees in a caucus is eliminated from participating in the second alignment. Attendees whose first alignment candidate has been eliminated can continue to participate in the process, but only by joining a group for a candidate who had more than 15 percent support in the first alignment, and has not been eliminated. . .
The raw results of the second alignment statewide, however, are not the basis for declaring a winner.
The next step is to take the raw results from the second alignment and determine the allocation of state delegate equivalents to the county conventions, the next step in the delegate selection process.
Second alignment results in a caucus for a precinct that historically has had a high general election Democrat turnout are weighted more heavily than a precinct that has historically had a low general election Democrat turnout. . .
The fourth and final set of results reported will be an estimated of the number of pledged delegates resulting from the state delegate equivalent calculation.
It is unclear when the Iowa Democratic Party will release the results from the remaining 29 percent of the more than 1,700 precincts that held caucus events on Monday.