It’s after midnight now and the official winner of the Democratic Iowa Caucuses is still “too close to call” according to all the media outlets. We know that Ted Cruz topped Trump to take the GOP side of the contest, but there seems to be a growing consensus that we will not have the final, official results of the Democratic Iowa Caucuses until tomorrow morning (or later).
As of this post, the count is split 50/50 between Clinton and Sanders. The candidates are separated by a mere 3 – count them 3 – caucus delegates. If you think that’s close, consider this: moments ago MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki reported that in at least three caucus precincts, additional delegates were awarded as the result of a coin toss. In two cases the caucus process produced ties. Under caucus rules, the tie could be broken with a coin toss, awarding an additional delegate to the winner. The additional delegate went to one of the Democratic candidates based upon a coin toss. In another case, there was an apparent delegate miscount – that is there was an over count of the total number of delegates at a particular precinct; the error resulted in a coin toss to award an additional delegate. Hillary Clinton won all three coin tosses. All three.
Right now (1:05 am) Hillary Clinton has 688 caucus delegates and Bernie Sanders has 685 with 98% of the precincts reporting in. Most media outlets are being very cautious about calling a clear victor, expecting there to be some recounts, potential challenges, or honest reporting errors. If the coin tosses went to Sanders instead of Clinton, the count would be 685 for Clinton and 688 for Sanders. That’s right. If the numbers hold, Iowa was truly decided on the basis of coin tosses.
That’s not to suggest that there was anything nefarious about the coin tosses. Yahoo News captured two of the coin tosses and the Des Moines Register explained the caucus rules. The point here is that this is a pretty amazing moment – at least on the Democratic side of the presidential campaign.
As I get ready to post, there is news breaking that there may be some challenges from the Sanders campaign…so I think I am going to stop writing and see what happens next.