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Iowa Democratic Caucus Results Delayed

Iowans started caucusing Monday evening to determine delegates for the Democratic nominee for president, but results were delayed.

Iowans began the caucus process Monday night as the first state in the U.S. to make their choices in the presidential primary season, but there was no sign when the process would be completed.

As midnight approached, hours after the caucuses started, no official precinct results had been reported. The delay raised questions about the accuracy of a new app being used, as well as changes made to the result-reporting process.  

CNN reported that unnamed sources in the Iowa Democratic Party said no official results would be coming in the early morning hours of Tuesday, but that results would be available sometime later in the day.

A statement from the Iowa Democratic Party earlier in the evening said there were inconsistencies in reporting of three sets of data, but that the tabulating and results-checking process was sound. 

As the delay in results reporting dragged on, the candidates appeared before gatherings of  supporters to thank them, claim momentum and reiterate their campaigns points before heading to New Hampshire. That state's primary is on Feb. 11.

Pete Buttigieg, who some had thought would get a boost from Iowa, spoke to his supporters, still enthusiastic late in the night but with no clue as to how their candidate did, at least officially.  He said, "By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar also spoke to supporters, volunteers and staff in Des Moines before flying to New Hampshire. "We don't know the results yet, but we know we're punching above our weight," she said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden also spoke before the results were out, thanking his supporters. "It's going to be close," he said. "But we feel good about where we are, and now it's on to New Hampshire... We're in this for the long haul," he added.

The Iowa Democratic Party officials changed the caucusing rules for 2020, including so-called "satellite caucuses" and a plan to release two rounds of raw vote totals as well as the state equivalent delegates.

Media reports said party officials contacted all the campaigns late in the evening to explain the delay and to say some results would be counted manually.

Iowa's caucusing process means that the candidate with the most votes doesn't necessarily win the most delegates. 

There are 41 state delegates from Iowa -- a small percentage of the 1,991 needed to win the nomination.

Less than an hour after the caucusing started, the Associated Press called the Republican race for President Trump, which it noted was "a largely symbolic victory given that he faced no significant opposition."

There were two Republican challengers, but the focus was on the Democratic candidates. Iowa's caucus may be the first on the long road to the White House, but the results have often signaled who would be the Democratic nominee. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Kerry all won the Iowa caucuses.

Early reports seemed to indicate Biden might have a hard time staying in the top three, and Biden himself reportedly said in an email to supporters Monday evening that Iowa was just the first in many steps to the Democratic nomination, and that he would "compete every step of the way and fight for every one of your votes." 

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According to a CBS News Battleground Tracker on Feb. 2, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden were even in first-choice support at 25% each in the baseline model, Buttigieg was close behind at 21%, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 16%, also was in position to accrue some national delegates. Klobuchar was at 5% in the baseline estimate, and all other candidates were under 5%.

The AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Democratic caucuses reported that about two-thirds of Iowa caucusgoers said supporting a candidate who would transform how the system in Washington works was important to their vote. The AP also reported the survey revealed two major campaign issues are important to Iowa Democrats: healthcare and climate change.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate field is a little too far to the left for Jim Cramer’s liking. He said he's concerned that the group, with the exception of Buttigieg, could be worse for markets than President Donald Trump.

Cramer said there's a strong belief that the Democrat field is full of people who want to confiscate wealth, while also noting that he doesn’t mean tax wealth, but confiscate it: “They make Obama look like Milton Friedman.”

The upcoming election is one of the main potential market headwinds Cramer sees on the horizon and the potential presidency of Sanders is something that bothers him the most.

“The elections keep me up at night as I fear that Bernie Sanders could sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire and I have to at least get a couple hours of sleep. For heaven's sake, we want to have cash ready if Sanders wins either state or both,” Cramer said.

Cramer also said that a sweep for Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire could be seen as a positive thing, as that increases the chances that he is the Democratic nominee as “he may be the least electable of the major Democratic candidates when it comes to the general election.”

Additionally, a Warren/Sanders presidential ticket could ensure that the Senate stays Republican and the climate of deregulation maintains course unimpeded. Regardless of who wins, Cramer’s final take is that investors need to keep their emotions out of investing and as always rely on the data to make their decisions. 

Iowans choose their delegates through a complex process. In Iowa, there are 41 pledged delegates available in the Democratic race, plus an additional eight unpledged (superdelegates). After the Monday caucuses, held at nearly 1,700 precincts across the state, precinct delegates go to county caucuses, and following those are county, congressional district and, ultimately, state conventions, where the national convention delegates are selected. Monday’s action selects delegates to the county convention but in the end, the Democratic winner is the candidate who receives the most state delegate equivalents.

The caucus process differs from the polling process in a number of ways, but has often been described as a series of conversations rather than rounds of voting. Delegates gather at the caucus sites and indicate the candidate they support by physically gathering in sections of the room.

Republican voters in Iowa, however, use a simple secret ballot process.

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg skipped the Iowa caucus, opting for a campaign trip to California. Bloomberg said he was planning to enter the Iowa race when he began considering a presidential run, then decided not to become a candidate, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. When he reconsidered and got in the 2020 race, “it was too late to get in" the Iowa contest, he was quoted as saying.

Bloomberg over the weekend announced elements of his tax plan, including raising taxes on the wealthy, increasing the corporate tax rate, and limiting tax-free inheritances of large estates. He said the plan would raise $5 trillion over a decade and that tax rates on low-income and middle-class Americans would remain the same.

Next up: The 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11. 

Tony Owusu contributed to this report.