This far Sanders has finished first in the popular vote in both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. There have been a number of surprises in the campaign thus far, including the strong finish of Buttigieg (who is in first place in delegates won this far) and the poor performance of former Vice-President Joe Biden. Biden, the candidate with the greatest name recognition, finished in fifth place and received 8.4% of the popular vote reported this far, well short of the 15% required to win delegates. Another surprise was the strong third place finish of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, the only other candidate to win any delegates, aside from the first two finishers. Klobuchar's better than expected finish has assisted her in raising the funds necessary to continue her campaign. Klobuchar's campaign manager Justin Buoen has reported that Klobuchar's campaign has raised $2.5 million since the polls closed at 8 p.m. Klobuchar previously raised $2 million in the 24 hours after the Democratic debate this past Friday.
In his victory speech, Sanders thanked the crowd for his victory and credited his win to the tireless work of his numerous volunteers. He called his victory "the beginning of the end for Donald Trump." He went on to predict victory in the next two contests, the Nevada Caucuses on February 22nd and the South Carolina Primary on February 29th. Sanders also congratulated his opponents, pledging his support for the eventual nominee of the party, even if that person isn't him. He told the crowd, "No matter who wins, and we certainly hope it's going to be us, we're going to unite together and defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country."
Pete Buttigieg also congratulated his fellow Democratic contenders, and commented at the remarkable distance that his campaign has come. He told the crowd, "Thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay." He also thanked New Hampshire voters for their level of engagement in the primary, saying "So many of you turned out — diehard Democrats, Independents unwilling to stay on the sidelines and even some newly former Republicans — ready to vote for something new, ready to vote for a politics defined by how many we call in instead of who we push out. So many of you chose to meet a new era of challenge with a new generation of leadership. So many of you decided that a middle-class mayor and a veteran from the industrial Midwest was the right choice to take on this president not in spite of that experience but because of it."
Buttigieg congratulated Sanders for his strong showing in New Hampshire, but couldn't resist a subtle shot at the Sanders' advanced age, stating that he "admired Senator Sanders when I was a high school student." Buttigieg went on to portray himself as the candidate who can unite the political factions. He once again subtly criticized the elder statesmen in the race by telling the crowd "most Americans don't see where they fit in" when presented with the choice of either revolution or status quo, an apparent knock on Sanders and Biden. He added, "We cannot defeat the most divisive president in modern history by tearing down anyone who doesn't agree with us 100% of the time."
Two candidates for the Democratic nomination dropped out of the race for the nomination: businessman Andrew Yang and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.
The next contest will be the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, February 22, beginning at noon Pacific time. Nevada Democrats have abandoned plans to use Shadow Inc., the vendor for a vote-reporting app that performed so poorly in Iowa. Unlike Iowa, Nevada has early voting. Iowa didn’t have any early voting, but Nevada is going to try to include it into the caucus process by using ranked-choice ballots by early voters submitted in advance. And in another twist that could only occur in the gambling state, ties in the delegate allocation process will be resolved by, and I'm not kidding about this, drawing cards. High card wins.
Three sets of results, again
Three sets of results will ultimately be reported:
1) The pre-realignment vote total: The initial tally of how many people prefer each candidate at each of the many precinct caucus sites, and the first-preference choices among all early votes. They are all added together for a statewide total.
2) The final vote total: After the first tally, any supporters of a candidate who got less than a certain threshold of the vote in a precinct (15 percent in most cases) can shift their support to another candidate. Candidates who are below the viability threshold are eliminated as “nonviable,” and a new and final tally of only viable candidates is taken.
3) County delegates: Finally, the final vote total in each precinct is then used to assign each viable candidate a certain number of county delegates.
In Iowa, results had Sanders winning the initial vote tally by a few percentage points, winning the final vote tally more narrowly, and barely losing the delegate tally to Buttigieg. A similar outcome could conceivably happen in Nevada as well.
The early voting period in Nevada goes from February 15 to 18. The most recent polling numbers for the Nevada Democratic Party race have Joe Biden ahead of Sanders by 3.5%, but those polls were taken in mid January, before the Iowa Caucuses, so those numbers are likely meaningless today.