Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton declared victory Monday night at the all-important Iowa Caucuses – despite being neck and neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire called the race between Clinton and Sanders “historically close,” but didn’t proclaim a winner. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley suspended his campaign late Monday.
Dr. Andy McGuire said Clinton was awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents, Sanders 695.49, Martin O’Malley 7.68 and uncommitted, .46.
One precinct still hadn’t reported, in Des Moines, with 2.28 state delegate equivalents.
Clinton’s camp noted that, even if Sanders got all of the 2.28, “Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Senator Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton’s advantage.”
Sanders called the results a “virtual draw,” saying his “come-from-behind campaign” is one for the history books, writes the television news outlet.
The New York Times notes the tie means the former secretary of state and Sanders will likely split the state’s share of delegates at the Democratic convention:
The virtual tie between the two candidates instantly raised the stakes for their next face-off, the primary next Tuesday in New Hampshire. Mr. Sanders holds a solid lead in polls there and has the advantage of being from Vermont; candidates from neighboring states have won the state’s primary in recent decades, and Mr. Sanders is admired in the state.
Clinton advisers said late Monday night that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton were discussing bringing on additional staff members to strengthen her campaign operation now that a pitched battle may lie ahead against Mr. Sanders. The advisers said they did not know if a significant staff shakeup was at hand, but they said that the Clintons were disappointed with Monday night’s result and wanted to ensure that her organization, political messaging and communications strategy were in better shape for the contests to come.
It will be interesting to see if Clinton and Sanders remain congenial as the stakes get higher ahead of next week’s critical primary race in New Hampshire. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.