Live updates as Democrats face their first test


Updated 5:55 PM / February 3, 2020

Trump surrogates stump for president in Iowa ahead of caucuses

Eric Trump (C) speaks as Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale (L), Eric wife Lara (2nd L) Donald Trump Jr. (R), as well as his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle (2nd R), look on during a “Keep Iowa Great” press conference in Des Moines, IA, on February 3, 2020. 

JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

While all eyes are on the Democrats, top officials from Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign are also in Iowa for the Republican caucuses.

The president’s two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, joined Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and other surrogates for a press conference in West Des Moines, during which the group blasted the Democratic presidential candidates and highlighted Mr. Trump’s accomplishments in his first three years in office.

Trump Jr. was interrupted by a protester who said that since his father’s election, there has been a spike in attacks on Jewish people in the U.S. The protester was escorted out of the event.

Parscale told the audience he believes Bernie Sanders will “do well,” while Trump Jr. suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deliberately designed the impeachment proceedings to coincide with the runup to the Iowa caucuses, ensuring Sanders would be stuck in Washington for BIden’s benefit.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, took to social media to share memories from the 2016 Iowa caucuses. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas topped the vast Republican field in Iowa in 2016.  — Melissa Quinn and Ben Mitchell


Updated 6:10 PM / February 3, 2020

The results: Here’s what to expect

On caucus night, the Iowa Democratic Party will release three sets of results: the popular vote from the first alignment, the popular vote after the realignment, and the number of state delegate equivalents a candidate wins. The person who wins the most state delegate equivalents will technically win the Iowa caucuses because that number will determine how many delegates the candidate wins for the national convention.

Depending on the size of the precinct, the process can take a couple of hours, but some results are expected to start coming in around 9:00 p.m. ET. The bulk of the results will likely come in a couple of hours later. CBS News will have results on the air and CBSN will be broadcasting live from Iowa.

Read more in CBS News Daily Trail Markers here.

— Caitlin Conant and Anthony Salvanto 


Updated 4:18 PM / February 3, 2020

How many times have candidates visited Iowa from 1/1/2019 to 2/2/2020?

These are the seven candidates competing in Iowa. Michael Bennet and Tulsi Gabbard decided to focus their efforts elsewhere and stopped campaigning in Iowa months ago.  These counts date from January 1, 2019 to February 2, 2020, beginning either when the candidate started an exploratory committee or filed with the FEC, whichever came first.

Linked to the candidates’ names are their heat maps, which tell the story of where they’ve spent their time in Iowa over the past year.

Joe Biden
Trips: 22
Total Days Spent: 61
Total Campaign Events: 136
Pete Buttigieg
Trips: 25
Total Days Spent: 64
Total Campaign Events: 167
Amy Klobuchar
Trips: 32
Total Days Spent: 69
Total Campaign Events: 206
Bernie Sanders
Trips: 20
Total Days Spent: 58
Total Campaign Events: 145
Tom Steyer
Trips: 13
Total Days Spent: 36
Total Campaign Events: 78
Elizabeth Warren
Trips: 27
Total Days Spent: 59
Total Campaign Events: 119
Andrew Yang**
Trips: 15
Total Days Spent: 53
Total Campaign Events: 171 (**Yang campaigned in Iowa starting in August of 2018. These numbers reflect his trips since January of 2019.)
— Adam Brewster and Musadiq Bidar


Updated 2:21 PM / February 3, 2020

Will Iowa caucuses predict the Democratic nominee? In 7 of the past 9 contested Democratic races, it did.

The Iowa caucuses are always closely watched and exhaustively analyzed — but how often do they accurately predict which candidate will be the eventual nominee?

A look at recent political history shows Iowa voters often pick a winner — but not always.

In the past 11 presidential races, the Iowa Democratic caucus correctly predicted the Democratic nominee seven times. Iowa was only wrong about the Democratic nominee twice. (Two times, an incumbent was running, so there was no Iowa race.)

So, in seven out of the nine contested Iowa Democratic caucuses, the person who won Iowa became the party’s nominee.

The Republican caucuses in the state have not predicted the party’s nominee as frequently. In the past 11 races, the nominee was predicted by the Iowa caucuses only four times. Three times, an incumbent was running, so there was no Iowa race. So, in four out of the eight contested Iowa Republican caucuses, the state’s winner became the party’s nominee.

Read more here.


Updated 1:29 PM / February 3, 2020

Caucus facts

  • Caucuses begin at 8 p.m. ET. The presidential preference part of the night, when caucus-goers elect delegates for their chosen candidate will likely take an hour or two. 
  • This is the first year “satellite caucuses” will be open. Seventy-one sites will be set up to allow people who can’t leave their jobs or who are in assisted living facilities to participate. Iowans living outside the state may also caucus in the 25 sites in states outside of Iowa, plus three international sites, in France, Scotland and the Republic of Georgia.
  • There are 1,678 precincts across Iowa.
  • In 2016, 171,109 people showed up for the Democratic caucuses between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Clinton won by a margin of less than 0.5%
  • There are 41 delegates at stake in Iowa, out of the 3,979 pledged national delegates in the Democratic primary process. 
  • The winning candidate will need 1,991 pledged delegates to secure the nomination.

— Adam Brewster and Musadiq Bidar


Updated 1:28 PM / February 3, 2020

Where the senators running for president plan to be on Caucus Night

The senators running for president are back in Washington today for the closing arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial. Bernie Sanders told reporters in the Capitol he’ll be on his way to Iowa after the arguments are over.

Amy Klobuchar, also in the Capitol, said she’s “looking forward to hearing the arguments,” but once they’ve concluded, “I’m getting back there” to Iowa. Around midnight, she plans to go to New Hampshire. After an arrival in the wee hours of the morning, she plans to hit the trail with several events Tuesday.

Warren did not say where she’d be on Caucus night, saying that it “depends on Mitch McConnell — he’s the one who controls the schedule.”

Michael Bennet plans to go to New Hampshire this evening. 

Katie Ross Dominick, Rob Legare, Adam Brewster, Grace Segers and Amber Ali


Updated 1:28 PM / February 3, 2020

Trump urges Republicans to caucus today

Although the president faces no significant threats in his reelection race, Mr. Trump wants Republican voters to caucus, too, touting recent trade deals his administration has reached.

“Republicans in Iowa, go out and Caucus today. Your great Trade Deals with China, Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Korea and more, are DONE,” he wrote. “Great times are coming, after waiting for decades, for our Farmers, Ranchers, Manufacturers and ALL. Nobody else could have pulled this off!”

The Republican Party is holding caucuses, though they haven’t attracted as much attention as the Democrats have. Still, the Trump campaign will have a substantial presence here, with 80 surrogates at caucus sites around Iowa. In 2016, Mr. Trump placed second to Ted Cruz here. 

This time around, only long-shot candidates Congressman Joe Walsh, of Illinois, and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld are challenging Mr. Trump for the GOP nomination.

The president visited Des Moines on Thursday night for his first campaign rally in Iowa this year. Hundreds of people in the overflow crowd watched Mr. Trump speak on a big screen outside the venue. 
— Adam Brewster and Musadiq Bidar contributed.


Updated 7:59 AM / February 3, 2020

“Viability threshold” and the Iowa caucuses

Unlike a primary, a caucus is not a “one person, one vote” system. Instead, Iowans will be electing delegates through a complex process that dates back to the 19th century. There are no ballots, and caucus-goers aren’t technically voting for candidates but rather for delegates who support a given candidate.    

If a candidate fails to attract 15% of support from caucus goers at a caucus location, that candidate will not clear the “viability threshold,” meaning that candidates’ supporters will have to either pick another candidate or their votes will not count. This process is called realignment.

This realignment process is critical. If your candidate wasn’t viable and you’re looking for a new group, viable campaigns will be competing to try to win you over. If you’re part of a well-organized campaign on the cusp of viability, your team will be desperately trying to try to pick off supporters of other non-viable campaigns. The best organized campaigns, with well-trained and experienced people on their side, are in strong positions to increase their size on caucus night.    — Musadiq Bidar and Adam Brewster


Updated 5:03 PM / February 3, 2020

CBS News Battleground Tracker: Possible scenarios for Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg


The final CBS News Iowa Battleground Tracker offers a statistical simulation of the caucuses and some scenarios that might unfold on Monday. It looks like a close contest heading in, and the top candidates are all poised to win national delegates.

To show what could happen — and more importantly, why — we continued interviewing likely caucus-goers this week for their first- and second-choice preferences in our polling, then combined it with data on Iowa voters generally, and how the caucus system works across the state’s counties and districts.

Monday dawns with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden even in first-choice support at 25% each in our baseline model, Pete Buttigieg very close behind at 21%, and Elizabeth Warren at 16%, also in position to accrue some national delegates. Amy Klobuchar is at 5% in our baseline estimate, and all other candidates are under 5%.

Read full results here.

Iowa caucus: Poll shows tight race with Biden, Sanders tied

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