WEST DES MOINES — The Iowa Democratic Party declared early Tuesday morning that Hillary Clinton has defeated Bernie Sanders by the narrowest of margins, after a tense night in which no clear winner emerged.
The Associated Press called the race for Clinton just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.
“The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history,” party chair Andy McGuire said in a statement.
McGuire announced that based on the vote, 699.57 state delegate equivalents have been awarded to Clinton. Sanders earned 695.49 state delegate equivalents, and Martin O’Malley earned 7.68 state delegate equivalents. “Uncommitted” won .46 state delegate equivalents.
“We still have outstanding results in one precinct (Des Moines — 42), which is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents,” he said. “We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair.”
As of 8:58 a.m. Tuesday, Clinton led Sanders by .3 percent, 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
The Clinton campaign declared victory early Tuesday.
“Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa Caucus,” the campaign’s Iowa director Matt Paul said in a statement. “After thorough reporting — and analysis — of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates. Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Senator Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton’s advantage.”
The precincts tallied 171,109 votes at 1,681 caucus locations around all Iowa 99 counties vying for 44 delegates.
O’Malley, however, suspended his campaign early Monday evening as the caucus numbers came in.
Clinton was favored by 88 percent of Democrats who wanted a candidate with experience over other qualities, according to NBC entrance polls. Additionally 68 percent of those who want a candidate to continue President Obama’s policies sided with Clinton. The majority of Democrats who say health care is an important issue also preferred Clinton.
Democratic caucusgoers in West Des Moines were pleased with the process at the Ashworth Baptist Church location. Clinton received 91 votes, and Sanders received 89 there. O’Malley did not have enough caucusgoers to meet a viable threshold. Both Clinton and Sanders received 3 delegates at the precinct.
“It was my first time caucusing. I was a little shocked that it seemed like there were some people who went over [from O’Malley to Sanders] intentionally. It was really good,” Suzanne Poe told The Daily Caller.“It was very close in here, but everything went very smoothly and really nice, but it was really close, because three people is all it was,” Nancy Murray, a Clinton supporter said.
Paul Mizzoula, a Sanders supporter and first-time caucusgoer, was also pleased with his caucus experience.
“I thought it was relatively straightforward and enjoyable. Everybody was civil. It was well organized and run. I thought the length of it was appropriate to keep people interested in coming out.”
Both campaigns flew to New Hampshire, where voting is scheduled to take place in seven days.