The 2020 Iowa caucuses

By Meg Wagner, Amanda Wills, Veronica Rocha and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 12:14 a.m. ET, February 5, 2020
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10:36 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Democratic campaigns are beginning to worry about delay in results

From CNN's Dan Merica

Some Democratic presidential campaigns have started to worry about the delay in reporting results in Iowa.

An aide to a top Democratic campaign said their operation doesn’t “know what’s going on” but “something is clearly up.” 

“It just eats time,” the aide said.

And an aide to former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg also said they were worried about the delay in reporting results.

10:30 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Iowa Democratic Party: "We're working to report results soon"

From CNN's Adam Levy

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

An Iowa Democratic party official said the team is "working to report results soon."

“We are doing our quality control checks, making sure the numbers are accurate. People are still caucusing, we’re working to report results soon," the official said.

Earlier, before 10 p.m. ET, a source a Democratic state party official told CNN's David Chalian that they "should have something near top of the hour."

CNN's David Chalian explains more:

10:26 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

There are mixed emotions at Warren HQ as supporters arrive

From CNN's MJ Lee

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Elizabeth Warren’s election night party ballroom in Des Moines is starting to fill up with Iowans who attended various caucus sites.

Speaking to several of them, there are mixed emotions early in the evening.

Angela Thompson, who caucused at Precinct 51 in south Des Moines, told CNN that she was “really sad” because there were not a lot of people for Warren in the first alignment, and Warren was not viable. Thompson said those who initially chose Warren either ended up being uncommitted or going to Bernie Sanders – she also went to Sanders, she said, but was uncomfortable with her choice, and did so grudgingly.

“I wanted to stick with Warren,” Thompson said.

Kirsten Fath, a teacher who also caucused in Des Moines tonight at an elementary school site, was excited that Warren was viable. She said that Warren picked up quite a bit of supporters the second round – most of those new supporters seemed to come from voters who originally were in Andrew Yang’s corner.

10:24 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Buttigieg aides: Campaign seeing strong results in suburbs and rural area

From CNN's Abby Phillip and Dan Merica

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

Two senior aides to the Pete Buttigieg campaign said they are seeing stronger than expected results (specifically viability on the first alignment) in rural, suburban, and pivot precincts, according to their internal tallies. Aides view this as a key sign that their strategy of focusing on a broad array of precincts is paying off. 

“Things look pretty good so far," one aide said.

A second senior campaign adviser said that the exit polls released so far validate an effort by the campaign to show to voters that they can win voters across demographics. 

"Pete is putting together the widest coalition," the adviser said. "He is second among voters under 30 and voters over 65 while those leaders don’t even hit 10% in the other category."

10:24 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Remember: The numbers we have so far are only for individual caucus sites

Gene J. Puskar/AP
Gene J. Puskar/AP

CNN reporters have been reporting results at the caucus sites they're at — but remember: These are only for individual caucuses, and not for Iowa as a whole.

"It's just numbers that all of our reporters at the various caucus sites that they've been at have been reporting in," CNN's David Chalian explained. "It's the numbers we have been showing on the screen."

We're still waiting to hear from state officials about the results, Chalian said. He added that a state official told him they're doing "quality control" on the results before they report them.

"They're trying to make certain that what they report out as official results is accurate — reflects exactly the numbers that are sent in from each of these precincts," Chalian said.

Watch more analysis:

10:08 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Why Trump's campaign is rooting for Sanders tonight

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Tom Brenner/Getty Images
Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Trump campaign sources both inside and close to the campaign say some officials inside the President's re-election effort are all but rooting for a Bernie Sanders victory that begins to sow chaos inside the Democratic Party.

A senior campaign official said a long, drawn-out primary process would be the best case scenario for Trump. 

"Longer the better will drain resources and create further division," the official said. 

The official went on to envision a dream-like scenario for Trump, where the Democratic party is forced to go to its convention without settling on a nominee. That "would be terminal for them," the official said.

A "self-inflicted civil war" among Democrats was how another Trump adviser described the campaign's ideal scenario. The adviser said the prospect of Sanders becoming the Democratic party nominee is tantalizing, as the conventional wisdom among Trump advisers is that there is no way a self-described "socialist" can win the White House.

The only caution being expressed by some advisers is that Sanders has demonstrated a knack for mobilizing grassroots supporters and drawing huge crowds, attributes shared by the President. That makes him a threat.  

10:06 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Their candidate wasn't viable, so now they're supporting Cory Booker

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Some supporters backing non-viable candidates at a Des Moines caucus have decided to band together to support Cory Booker — who dropped out of the race last month.

The move means they declined to support viable candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

About viability and realignment: At the start of the caucuses, voters split up into groups dedicated to their first presidential candidate of choice. Typically, a candidate needs 15% of the vote to remain viable, as determined by the amount of people participating in the precinct location, but smaller locations may have different viability thresholds.

If a candidate is not viable after that first round, their voters can realign to another viable candidate — or join together to create a group in support of another candidate that meets the threshold.

10:01 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Doors are now open at Bernie Sanders' watch party

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Bernie Sanders campaign just opened the door to its watch party as a smattering of people were waiting.

The campaign encouraged supporters not to come to the party until they were done caucusing.

9:51 p.m. ET, February 3, 2020

Expect results near the top of the hour, party official says

A Democratic state party official tells CNN's David Chalian that they are "doing quality control on results coming in."

The official added that they "should have something near top of the hour."