Iowa Caucuses: Clinton campaign claims close victory
With 99.9% of votes counted in Iowa, Hillary Clinton's campaign claimed a slim victory over Bernie Sanders. Clinton leads Sanders by a narrow margin of 49.9 percent to 49.5 percent. Iowa Democratic Party said that the one outstanding precinct, Des Moines, will award 2.28 state delegate equivalents. Statistically, this will not be enough to boost Sanders over Clinton, even if he wins Des Moines.
America's two main political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, choose their respective nominees through party-sponsored contests in each state and territory. The process starts in February and takes up to five months. Iowa and New Hampshire traditionally kick off the process, and then other states follow. Once each party has a candidate, they go on campaigning until the general election in November.
Caucus is one of the two ways of collecting party members' votes when choosing a presidential candidate. It is a neighborhood event requiring hours of communal participation and debates, at set locations including schools, churches, public libraries and even individuals' houses, to vote for a candidate. The caucuses are administered separately by each major party, and Republicans and Democrats have different rules.
Apart from Caucus, Primary is another way where party members choose a presidential candidate. Primary is more like a traditional voting, where people show up at a neighborhood polling place to vote for their candidate by ballot.
Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States. Results in Iowa caucuses provide a snapshot of a candidate's popularity, organizing ability and momentum. These comprise the first part of a four-stage process that will choose the state's delegates to each party's national convention, where a Presidential nominee is formally selected.
While Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are the top Republican contenders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are the lead contenders of Democratic party.
The GOP (Republican) contest is simple. Here an ordinary secret ballot vote on presidential candidates will be conducted. Each campaign gets the chance to have a representative make a final pitch to any wavering voters before a secret ballot. Raw totals of votes are tallied by local party officials and sent to the Iowa GOP headquarters, where a running count is kept.
The Democratic caucus system is an intrinsic process. In order to be considered "viable," a group must clear a certain threshold (~15%) of the entire caucus turnout in each precinct. After the first-round vote tally, candidates who are not "viable" get eliminated. Supporters of eliminated candidates can align with a candidate who passes the threshold, during a second count called the re-alignment period.
Ted Cruz defeated Republican front runner Donald Trump while Democrat Hillary Clinton entered into a virtual tie with rival Bernie Sanders as Iowa held the inaugural vote of the 2016 White House race. Ted Cruz claimed 28% of the Republican vote to Trump's 24%. Trump's modest voter tally raised questions about whether showmanship can take him all the way to the White House.