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Iowa caucuses updates: First votes will be cast tonight


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SOURCE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/iowa-caucuses-2020-latest-updates/2020/02/03/10e69dd0-463b-11ea-ab15-b5df3261b710_story.html
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Summary

The first of a handful of satellite caucuses — for Iowans living abroad in Paris, Glasgow and Tbilisi, Georgia — took place early Monday, with results to be released later.At 8 p.m. Eastern, Democrats in Iowa will gather in rooms across the state and stand in groups to signal their support for the candidates hoping to face President Trump in November, the first to cast their votes in the Democratic nomination process.We’ll have live results here tonight.Republicans are also holding caucuses, with two long-shot candidates — former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh — on the ballot with Trump.The senators in the Democratic race, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Michael F. Warren, Sanders and Klobuchar have said they plan to return to Iowa on Monday night; Bennet will return to New Hampshire once impeachment proceedings wrap up Monday.The other candidates contesting Iowa are still in the state, including former vice president Joe Biden; former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and investor Tom Steyer.Get ready for Iowa’s caucuses:●How do the Iowa caucuses work?●How confusing could the results be?●Iowa’s political geographyJimmy Carter’s 1976 Iowa campaign is remembered as a surprise, an instant conversion from “Jimmy Who?” to a serious and inevitable candidacy.It’s a bit of a myth. No other Democratic candidate dared talk about a universal basic income until 2019, when Andrew Yang used it to build his own Iowa insurgency.WEST DES MOINES — President Trump’s campaign sought to showcase its long list of surrogates in Iowa on Monday, holding a news conference that featured top Trump aides and family members and which was attended by Cabinet members, conservative activists, Republican members of Congress and the My Pillow guy.“This is our first test of a grass-roots army we’ve built,” Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale told reporters in trying to explain why so many Trump allies had descended on Iowa. As the man was escorted out by security, Donald Trump Jr. responded by arguing that his father had pursued a strong pro-Israel foreign policy.Parscale said he expected Sanders to have a “good night,” but that Trump had no preference for any specific Democratic candidate.The officials planned to participate at various caucus sites throughout the state later Monday.Earlier on Monday afternoon, Steyer’s campaign texted supporters a friendly reminder for the caucuses: “Bring your ID. But first, she had a question.“What do you say about this pushback that we’re getting from the Democratic National Committee, you know, from Hillary Clinton, and [John] Kerry and all these people talking negative about Bernie?” Gradman, 57, a volunteer from Chicago, asked.Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) had some advice: “Be focused on tonight, be focused on New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina and all the other states.”Without mentioning names, he added, “There is a political class in D.C. of a lot of people … that don’t really want to see a lot of change in this country.”And so it went on Monday afternoon in a campaign office here. Because Bernie supporters are just as passionate and just as committed as Trump supporters.”Some precinct chairs have reported having trouble using a new phone app for reporting tonight’s caucus results, prompting concerns that the final tally could be delayed by a few hours, Bloomberg News reported.Precinct chairs said they were struggling to download and log on to the app, which local officials can use to send results from the caucus sites to the Iowa Democratic Party.Officials can still use a different method to report their results: calling the party hotline, which they have historically done to provide the results.State party leaders said they are working with precinct chairs who are having difficulty, and said local officials who are uncomfortable with the app can dial in to the hotline instead.“The IDP is working with any precinct chairs who want to use the optional tabulation application to make sure they are comfortable with it,” Mandy McClure, Iowa Democratic Party spokeswoman, said in a statement. The organization polled 300 likely Democratic caucus-goers via cellphone, landline and text to web.“Our biggest takeaway with these final numbers is that anyone who says a particular candidate is best positioned to win is, to borrow from Vice President Biden, full of malarkey,” the group wrote.The Daily 202: ‘It’s called 2016 PTSD.’ The ghost of Hillary Clinton haunts the Iowa caucuses.A slim 51 percent majority of Iowans indicated they were certain about their choice, and a larger majority of 70 percent said they would stick around to caucus in the next alignment round if their preferred candidate doesn’t reach viability.This is key, giving campaigns a chance to win over new voters in a second round of voting to increase their results.An updated Washington Post average of Iowa polls shows Biden has 21 percent of support of likely Iowa caucus-goers, Sanders has 20 percent, Buttigieg has 18 percent, and Warren has 15 percent.The first votes in the Iowa caucuses have already been cast — halfway around the world, in Tbilisi, Georgia.Joshua Kucera, a freelance journalist and native Iowan based in Tbilisi, participated in one of the first “satellite caucuses” at 10 a.m. Eastern, hours before those in the Hawkeye State will caucus. He thanked his voters and told them they are “part of an absolute force that is sweeping through Iowa.”“Part of the autopilot in me is setting the stump speech into play,” Buttigieg said, before redirecting himself to explain to volunteers why their personal stories will be the most persuasive argument for undecided voters.“I have got to tell you, having traveled literally the entire state … we are exactly where we need to be,” Buttigieg said.SACRAMENTO — As the sun rose, Mike Bloomberg rallied supporters here Monday, stepping up the intensity of his unorthodox campaign to distinguish himself from Democratic rivals vying to win the nation’s first round of presidential voting in Iowa.While his opponents were awaiting results 1,800 miles away, Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York mayor, took the stage at a coffee shop, reminding supporters that early voting begins this week and touting himself as the Democrat who can defeat Trump in November.“I’m not running against the other Democratic candidates,” Bloomberg told the crowd, which started assembling at 6:30 a.m. for remarks that lasted less than 10 minutes. “I’m running to beat Donald Trump.” The stop in Sacramento was the first of three Bloomberg is to make Monday in California, before jetting off to Michigan and Pennsylvania while his Democratic rivals turn their attention to New Hampshire and South Carolina.In Sacramento, the small coffee shop where Bloomberg spoke was packed with supporters, including Denise Kirby, 56, who said she came because her son, Eddie, is the Bloomberg campaign’s deputy political director for the state.“I’m not sure anyone else can beat Trump,” she said of Bloomberg. That’s going to be a campaign that’s going to win,” Warren said.Candidates power to end of Iowa campaign with competing visions of unity and electabilityThe tele-town hall was possibly the last time Warren would address Iowans directly before they begin caucusing Monday night. They’re now sort of rigging the election against him again,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday.On MSNBC Monday, host Chuck Todd asked Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver whether the Sanders campaign would push back against such assertions, and the appearance that Trump was attempting to help Sanders.The campaign was “not currently rigged,” Weaver said, insisting that “we do push back.”“He’s not helping us, what he is trying to do is get people who support Bernie to support him against more establishment Democrats, so we’re not going to play that game,” he said.But Weaver also expressed displeasure at the DNC’s decision to alter the qualifying rules ahead of the Feb. 19 debate.Bloomberg isn’t competing in the Iowa caucuses. At a campaign breakfast over the weekend, Biden surrogates urged reporters to look at the outcome all four early states, rather than just Iowa.Biden, who last ran for president in 2008, said that this year, “the Iowa voters are really probably more energized this time than anytime I’ve seen.”He continued to pitch himself as the one candidate who had the potential to unify the party and the only one with the experience to be president.When host Savannah Guthrie asked Biden about Sanders’s support among young voters, Biden pushed back and said he still believed he was the best candidate because he thinks he is “the only one who has broad support with brown, black, young, old, women, men, working class folks.”Senior adviser Symone Sanders echoed this pitch on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We are talking about the issues, we’re talking about the economy, we’re talking about reasserting ourselves on the world stage. “Iowa’s a purple swing state that went to Trump by almost 10 points.”“If you’re going to make the case to the people of Iowa that you’re going to bring the country together, that has to start right here,” he said.Will Democrats come back to Iowa for the general?But if he doesn’t get the nomination, Yang said, he will support the eventual nominee.Asked about his support for Sanders in the 2016 election, Yang confirmed that he had backed the senator from Vermont in the primary, but said, “I voted for Hillary[Clinton] in the general because I’m pro civilization.”Klobuchar, who is in fifth place in Iowa polling, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” from Washington, where she had returned for the impeachment trial, and insisted that there was “no scenario where I don’t go on” to New Hampshire after the Iowa caucuses.Asked if there were any scenario in which she wouldn’t continue after tonight’s caucuses, Klobuchar insisted that she remained in a strong position. We’re going the whole way,” she said.Even with the canceled release of the Des Moines Register-CNN poll Saturday, there has been plenty of polling in the last few weeks of probable Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa.A Washington Post average of Iowa polls in the second half of January finds the top four candidates separated by only eight percentage points, with Biden at 23 percent support, Sanders at 21 percent, Buttigieg at 18 percent and Warren at 15 percent.The remaining candidates are in the single digits in The Post average.

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