By Gregg Re | Fox News
The Iowa caucuses are officially underway, and a Fox News Voter Analysis shows a wide-open race, with five candidates competing for a share of the state’s key presidential delegates.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are all in the hunt, although the field will likely narrow as actual votes are tallied in the hours ahead. The Fox News Voter Analysis is a poll of almost 3,000 likely caucus-goers in the final week of the race.
At Drake University in Des Moines, which was playing host to both Democratic and Republican precincts, a cash bar was set up — $5 for a beer, and $8 for a cocktail. An advisor to Biden told Fox News he is watching the caucus coverage with his family right now in Des Moines, and that the entry polls they’ve seen line up with what the campaign was expecting — although it wasn’t clear what polls the advisor was referring to.
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The first results are expected within the hour, as caucuses typically last between one and two hours. The action is taking place at 1,679 precincts across the state – held in school gymnasiums, church basements, union halls, community centers, libraries and other locations.
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg stand at a caucus site at Roosevelt Hight School, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
This year, there’s a new twist: Iowa Democrats who can’t make it to their local caucus site will be able to take part at one of the additional 987 additional satellite caucuses across the state, the country and the globe. These new satellite caucuses will take place at factories, firehouses, group homes or community gathering places. The new option should help shift workers, Iowans with disabilities and those serving overseas take part.
Also for the first time, the Iowa Democratic Party reports three sets of results at the end of the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses: a tally of caucus-goers’ initial candidate preference; vote totals from the “final alignment” after supporters of lower-ranking candidates were able to make a second choice, and the total number of State Delegate Equivalents each candidate receives. There is no guarantee that all three will show the same winner.
Each candidate has to meet a threshold of 15 percent to be considered viable. That means the number of people backing a candidate has to be at least 15 percent of the total number of people in the room at the local caucus. For example, if there are 100 people in the room and 14 are backing a particular candidate, that candidate is not considered viable. If a candidate is determined to be not viable, that contender’s supporters would be given the opportunity support another candidate in the next round.
Caucus goers check in at a caucus at Roosevelt High School, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Only registered Democrats are allowed to take part in the Democratic caucuses.
Dr. Jane Sanders, the wife of Bernie Sanders, told Fox News Monday evening that although Hillary Clinton narrowly bested her husband in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, this year would be different.
“In 2016, he was just getting to be known by the people of Iowa,” she said. “They didn’t know him. Now they’ve watched him over the last four years, never back down on the issues that he talked about, that he continued to work on. And I think they know that he is there for the right reasons to improve their quality of life, to have more fairness and equity and justice in our country, both racial, social, economic, environmental justice.”
Some of the earliest results of the Iowa caucuses trickled in from thousands of miles away earlier in the day.
In Glasgow, Scotland, Sanders won the most support in a small, satellite caucus for Iowans living abroad.
Tara Hansen of West Des Moines, Iowa, holds her granddaughter Emmy who grabs the nose of Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg as he visits supporters at a campaign office the day of the Iowa Caucus, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sanders received support from nine of the 19 caucus-goers who attended. Warren ended up with six supporters, and Buttigieg had three. (The last attendee didn’t support a candidate.)
The other candidates were not viable. Former Vice President Joe Biden received no votes. The results can hardly be considered meaningful — some 200,000 people are expected to caucus Monday night.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop at Hiatt Middle School, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
This is the first time Iowa Democrats have held caucuses outside Iowa. The remote sites are intended to make the caucuses more inclusive to Iowans living out of state or abroad.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said Monday he has no regrets on skipping the Iowa caucuses.
The billionaire former New York City mayor was campaigning in California as his rivals for the Democratic nomination prepared for the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
Directional signs are posted on doors at a caucus at Roosevelt Hight School, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Bloomberg suggested that his rivals were falling behind in the race. He noted in Compton that he has made stops in 24 states and 60 cities while the other candidates have been hunkered down in Iowa.
He’d like to think he’s a few steps ahead. “I hope so,” Bloomberg said.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser, Bill Hemmer, Jacqui Heinrich and Peter Doocey in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press. Gregg Re is a lawyer and editor based in Los Angeles.
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