At the Toss of a Coin

In possibly the most exciting Iowa Democratic caucus in U.S. history, Hillary Clinton took Iowa with 49.9% of the vote to Bernie Sanders’ 49.6%. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Andy McGuire called it “the closest in Iowa Democratic history.”

Even more incredible, six Iowa precincts were decided by coin flip Monday night, February 1, 2016. Who knew that Iowa law stipulates that should a precinct have an odd number of delegates voters are trying to win for their candidate, and the votes are a virtual tie, the final delegate must be decided via coin toss.

In an amazing stroke of luck, Hillary Clinton won all six coin tosses. One has a 1.6% chance to win 6 coin tosses in a row.

One of the coin tosses was rife with controversy. The Des Moines Register reports:

A total of 484 eligible caucus attendees were initially recorded at the site. But when each candidate’s preference group was counted, Clinton had 240 supporters, Sanders had 179 and Martin O’Malley had five (causing him to be declared non-viable).

Those figures add up to just 424 participants, leaving 60 apparently missing. When those numbers were plugged into the formula that determines delegate allocations, Clinton received four delegates and Sanders received three — leaving one delegate unassigned.

Unable to account for that numerical discrepancy and the orphan delegate it produced, the Sanders campaign challenged the results and precinct leaders called a Democratic Party hot line set up to advise on such situations.

Party officials recommended they settle the dispute with a coin toss.

Clinton declared victory Monday night with 95% of the votes tallied and a 0.2% lead. “Thank you all so much,” she said to a cheering crowd. “What a night. What a great campaign this has been.” She promised, “I am a progressive who gets things done for the people.”

Sanders’ reply? “The political revolution is just starting. Tonight we accomplished what the corporate media and political establishment once believed was impossible. Don’t underestimate us.” Indeed, Sanders was polling in single digits in Iowa not too long ago.

The race moves on to New Hampshire, which hosts its primary on February 9. Sanders holds a colossal lead over Clinton, 61% to 30%.

Republican candidate Ted Cruz came out on top in Iowa with 27.9% of the vote. His closest rival, Donald Trump, got 24.3%, followed by Marco Rubio with 23.1%. The latest New Hampshire polls for Republicans? “Trump with 30 percent, followed by Cruz, 12 percent; Rubio, 11 percent,” according to the Washington Post.

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