Clinton Claims Victory Over Sanders

News outlets said race too close to call

Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton
February 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton declared victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in the Iowa Democratic caucus early Tuesday morning after the state party announced that she had narrowly won the contest.

Various news outlets deemed the race too close to call late Monday, with Clinton and Sanders separated by less than 1 percentage point. As of early Tuesday, Clinton had 49.9 percent of the vote in Iowa to Sanders’ 49.6 percent, according to Politico.

Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, followed far behind with less than 1 percent of the total. News broke that O’Malley would suspend his presidential campaign with about 75 percent of the Democratic votes counted Monday night.

Clinton’s campaign declared victory in a statement early Tuesday, though Sanders had yet to concede.

Hours earlier, journalists covering the Clinton and Sanders campaigns reported that both candidates were prepared to declare victory Monday night, though neither did so.

Clinton delivered a speech at about 10:30 P.M., calling herself a "progressive who gets things done for people" and thanking her Iowa voters. While she said that she was "breathing a huge sigh of relief," Clinton did not declare victory outright.

"It looks like we are in a virtual tie," Sanders told supporters shortly after, labeling Monday’s voter turnout the start of a "political revolution."

Early entrance polls Monday indicated that Clinton held a slight lead over Sanders, winning 50 percent to his 44 percent. O’Malley polled far behind at 3 percent.

Clinton endured a major loss in Iowa when campaigning for president in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama came in first in the Democratic caucus. Clinton came in third after former Sen. John Edwards.

Sanders, once viewed as a long shot for the nomination, saw increased momentum for his campaign leading up to the caucus. Data released by Facebook earlier Monday indicated that Sanders dominated conversations among Iowans on the social media site in the hours before votes were cast.

The Iowa caucus followed days of controversy for Clinton, who has been subject to criticism since last March for her use of a private, unsecured email server to conduct sensitive government business.

Last Friday, the Obama administration confirmed that nearly two dozen Clinton emails contain top secret information, blocking the State Department’s release of the sensitive messages. The FBI is currently probing Clinton’s personal email setup.

Clinton has maintained that she never sent or received information marked classified on her personal email, her campaign accusing Republicans of pushing the issue to damage her presidential ambitions.

Candidates will immediately turn to the New Hampshire primary next week, where recent polls have indicated Sanders holds a substantial lead over Clinton. A University of Massachusetts/7 News survey released Monday found that Sanders leads Clinton by more than 30 points in New Hampshire, taking 61 percent of the vote among likely Democratic primary voters.

The Clinton campaign has been ramping up attacks on Sanders in recent weeks, criticizing his positions on issues like gun control and healthcare. Sanders has cited the critiques as evidence that the former secretary of state’s campaign is in trouble.