Managing editor Jon Shurberg has allowed me (Dave Asche) full access to his blog and is allowing me to give live updates on this race. Was it a mistake on his part? Probably.
Right now Hillary Clinton is clinging to a 3% lead over Bernie Sanders with 48% of the precincts reporting. A few counties to watch are Polk County (Des Moines), Johnson County (University of Iowa), and Story County (Iowa State University).
Right now Clinton has a 53% to 46% lead in Polk County. Obama won this county by 10% in 2008. Bernie Sanders has a 19% lead and a 7% lead in Johnson and Story Counties respectively. Sanders’ leads here should not be surprising give these are college towns Obama cleaned up in 2008. It is a bit surprising he is only up 7% in Sotry County, however.
On the Republican, Ted Cruz holds a 3% lead over Donald Trump with 37% of the precincts reporting. Marco Rubio is at 20% and is having a very good night so far. If he breaks 20% he goes into New Hampshire as the clear frontrunner in the establishment primary.
9:39: 50% of Precincts are in on the GOP side of things and Rubio is closing fast on Trump. Only 4% behind. Whether he overtakes him or not, tonight is a win for Rubio. Plain and simple.
9:43 p.m.: Resident political analyst and future International Political Corespondent for the BBC, Matt Weiss, tells us Hillary’s lead is insurmountable and is calling the race for her.
9:53 p.m.: Here is an interesting tidbit. For all of the talk of Bernie Sanders being the candidate of lower income voters, it is certainly not shaking out that way. As of right now, among low income voters, Clinton is actually beating Sanders 51% to 49%. Not looking good for Bernie.
Another interesting fact, Hillary and Bernie are splitting caucus voters who favored Obama in 2008. Low income and Obama voters are two blocs Sanders had to win tonight and Hillary is either beating him or fighting him to a draw with them.
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: As of 10:00 p.m. word has come down that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has suspended his campaign. Not many people expected him to win the nomination. But nobody expected it to go this bad.
The live shot of the O’Malley campaign stage is just depressing.
10:05 p.m.: 77% of the votes are in and Sanders has closed to within 1.4% of Hillary Clinton (50.4% to 49.0%).
10:10 p.m.: Marco Rubio is within 3% of Donald Trump for second place. This should make Democrats nervous everywhere. It’s happening, folks. I’ve said it for months and tonight is just solidifying my point of view. Marco Rubio will be the GOP nominee.
10:15 p.m.: It’s going to be a long night for Democrats. It wasn’t looking good for Bernie earlier but he has a real chance to overtake her.
There are outstanding precincts in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Ames, and Davenport. All areas Obama won in 2008. Even if Hillary wins by 1%, this is a very bad night for her.
BREAKING NEWS: NBC News has called the Iowa Caucuses for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
10:27 p.m.: Andrea Mitchell of NBC says the Clinton campaign is declaring victory over Bernie Sanders. Seems a bit premature. Even if this is the case, this is nothing short of a disappointment for Hillary Clinton. But it’s also a smart move. Remember how close the GOP race was in 2012 between Santorum and Romney? Romney declared victory and that was the media narrative for weeks. Turns out he lost, but by that point, it didn’t matter.
And in an unsurprising turn of events, Mike Huckabee is ending his campaign.
10:36 p.m.: Rubio taking the stage. Basically calling himself the “Comeback Kid.”
10:43 p.m.: This speech right here is why Democrats should be terrified of Rubio winning the GOP nomination. This is amazing.
10:48 p.m.: If Democrats were not nervous enough already now that Rubio has proven a viable candidate, Hillary Clinton is beating a 74 year old, self proclaimed Democrat Socialist by 0.5% with 89% of the vote in.
10:50 p.m.: And now, self proclaimed “winner” Donald Trump is taking the stage. This should be interesting to say the least.
Donald Trump sounds like a very humbled, and frankly, stunned candidate right now. Very good concession speech from him.
10:53 p.m.: So serious question. Considering everything that has gone on tonight, in a hypothetical match-up between Hillary and Trump, who do you put money on? Not a very easy call right now, is it?
BREAKING NEWS: Managing Editor Jon Shurberg has just learned that Mike Huckabee will be endorsing Donald Trump in Little Rock, Arkansas on Wednesday. Bit of a surprise. It might help Trump in the South but given he lost to Ted Cruz, and barely beat Marco Rubio out for second place, I can’t really see it happening.
11:03 p.m: Bernie Sanders is also declaring victory in Iowa tonight. It’s Romney/Santorum all over again.
11:06 p.m.: Quick thought: The 2012 Iowa Caucuses foretold the utter lack of enthusiasm for a Mitt Romney candidacy. This carried over into the general election and was one, of many reasons, he lost to Obama.
11:10 p.m.: Quick reminder that we will not know the actual raw vote totals on the Democratic side for a couple of weeks. Anybody want to place bets on who gets more total votes?
11:25 p.m.: Tonight’s victory should provide a nice springboard for Cruz into states like South Carolina and the SEC Primary states.
This is a pretty mediocre victory speech.
11:30 p.m. And now Hillary Clinton takes the stage and is pretending she is just thrilled with how the night as gone.
I think that was a very good speech from Hillary. It looks like she might pull Iowa out by the skin of her teeth. Still not a good night, but a win, is a win, is a win, is a win.
On the other hand, this is just another indication that she is very lucky she is running against Bernie Sanders and not another candidate like Obama or, as some have said, Elizabeth Warren.
11:49 p.m.: Something is wrong with Bernie’s audio. Isn’t that was caused the “Dean Scream” back in 2004?
In other news. Ted Cruz is STILL talking…..
12:00 a.m.: It’s midnight on the East Coast. Bernie Sanders is going full Bernie Sanders in his speech right now. I have no idea how he has not lost his voice yet.
So it looks like Hillary wins by a hair and Ted Cruz wins with a comfortable margin. The winners and losers tonight are pretty obvious. Winners: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders. Losers: Trump and Clinton.
More from me tomorrow. I thank Jon Shurberg for giving me the keys to Maryland Scramble tonight. Hope you enjoyed the live blog.