Did Hillary Clinton really win the Iowa caucuses?

Posted at 12:41 PM, Feb 02, 2016

Hillary Clinton declared victory on Monday night but Bernie Sanders isn’t giving up so soon.

A senior Sanders campaign aide told CNN Tuesday the campaign has no plans to stand down on its pursuit of gathering additional data from the caucuses. The aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation, said the campaign would ask the party to provide more information from specific precincts given the closeness of the race.

“We will request the actual count sheets in a set of precincts, and we are going to be talking to the state party this morning to review the results,” said the aide.

Clinton is leading Sanders by the narrowest of margins — 49.8% to 49.6%.

The state’s Republican party had a similar issue in 2012, when Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney finished virtually tied. The initial tally showed Romney ahead, but a recount subsequently found Santorum garnered the most votes.

Whatever the outcome, Clinton now faces the prospect of having to wait until late February for a realistic chance to put a solid win in her column — Nevada holds its Democratic Caucuses on February 20 and South Carolina follows a week later. Campaigns are fueled by victories and Clinton’s muddled Iowa showing will leave her supporters, donors and campaign staffers without bragging rights, possibly dampening enthusiasm and further ceding ground to Sanders.

Speaking at a rally in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, Clinton didn’t seem concerned about her razor-thin victory.

“I am so thrilled to be coming to New Hampshire after winning Iowa! I have won and I have lost there, it is a lot better to win,” she told the crowd.

However, Sanders moved quickly to capitalize on his little-guy-fighting-the-Democratic-machine narrative in his speech last night, suggesting that with his Iowa finish, his “political revolution,” had finally begun.

Sanders is turning his attention to New Hampshire’s primary on February 9 and beyond.

“We’re going to fight really hard in New Hampshire and then we’re going to Nevada, to South Carolina, we’re doing well around the country,” the Vermont senator said shortly after his campaign plane landed in New Hampshire.

The Iowa results showcased a Democratic Party with stark demographic fissures along class, race, age and ideological lines. While it appeared that Clinton would wrap up the nomination quickly, the caucus results suggest the primary battle will be a long and hard fought referendum on what the Democratic Party should be.

And the eventual winner will be tasked with bridging a party that could be much more split — and damaged –than it was in 2008 after Clinton’s battle with Obama.

Greg Guma, who has watched Sanders’ political career since the 1970s, predicted a protracted fight.

“This is a campaign that will go all the way to the convention,” Guma, author of “The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution” said. “He will stay in this race even if she is mathematically winning. He will influence what is in the platform and what Clinton says at the convention.”

Clinton and Sanders are virtually deadlocked. Clinton, the national front-runner, admitted breathing a “big sigh of relief” after escaping Iowa — the state she handily lost to Obama in 2008 — but promised a vigorous campaign with Sanders.

“It’s rare that we have the opportunity we do now,” she said in a speech that didn’t explicitly claim victory but sought to position her as the authentic progressive in the race.

Sanders, who trailed Clinton in Iowa by 30 points three months ago, told a raucous crowd chanting “Bernie, Bernie” that his campaign made stunning progress.

“Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state, we had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America,” he said.

Though Sanders fared well in Iowa and is nicely posited in New Hampshire, his hurdle is proving that he can appeal to more ethnically diverse electorates in later contests in places such as South Carolina.

Sanders made the case to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, when his campaign plane landed in New Hampshire early on Tuesday morning, that he expects to challenge Clinton among nonwhite voters.

“We lost (the nonwhite vote), but that gap is growing slimmer and slimmer between the secretary and myself. I think you’ll find as we get to South Carolina and other states, that when the African-American community, the Latino community, looks at our record, looks at our agenda, we’re going to get more and more support,” Sanders told Cuomo on “New Day.”

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Ted Cruz didn’t spend much time savoring his victory over Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.

“We’re flying to New Hampshire and we’re gonna work every day to win the votes of the men and women of New Hampshire,” Cruz told CNN’s Dana Bash in an interview aired on “New Day.”

As of early Tuesday morning with 99% of the vote reported, Cruz had 28% of caucus attendees tallied, followed by Trump with 24% and Rubio with a surprisingly strong 23%.

But Cruz may have a tougher time in New Hampshire, where Trump leads in the polls. And Rubio’s stronger-than-expected showing in Iowa makes him a more formidable foe.

“I’m not unopposed, there’s still a bunch of people in this race,” Cruz said. “We’re going to stay focused on making the case to the American people that we can’t have another ‘campaign conservative.'”

Trump, however, is now wounded, after finishing second in Iowa.