Biden acknowledges Iowa gut punch

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden greets a man with his baby after a campaign event in Somersworth, New Hampshire, U.S., February 5, 2020Image copyright

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Joe Biden came in a disappointing fourth place in the Iowa race

White House hopeful Joe Biden has called his poor performance in the Democrats’ first 2020 leadership vote, in Iowa’s caucuses, a “gut punch”.

Mr Biden has come fourth, according to incomplete results from the election to pick a Democratic presidential nominee.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Mr Biden said. “This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been knocked down.”

With most results declared in Monday’s glitch-plagued caucuses, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are neck and neck.

But Mr Biden told an audience in New Hampshire: “I’m not going anywhere.”

According to partial results from Iowa, the former US vice-president has failed to pick up a single one of the delegates needed to clinch the Democratic White House nomination under America’s quirky political system.

New Hampshire will be the next state to vote on 11 February in a string of nationwide votes culminating with the crowning of the party’s presidential candidate in July.

Eleven contenders remain in the race to challenge President Donald Trump, a Republican, in November’s election.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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With 86% of precincts reporting, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in first place with 26.7% of the vote

Iowa, which has long defended its position as the first race of the election year, was beset by problems when its app for reporting results crashed on Monday, spawning lengthy delays in results.

The Iowa caucuses present candidates with a golden opportunity to generate campaign momentum.

By Wednesday, 86% of precincts had reported:

  • Mr Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has 26.7% of the vote, awarding him 11 delegates
  • Mr Sanders, a Vermont senator, has 25.4%, also with 11 delegates
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has 18.3% and five delegates
  • Mr Biden has 15.9%, which leaves him with zero delegates

Those delegates will eventually represent these candidates when the Democratic nominee is chosen later this year.

Other candidates who failed to secure a single delegate include Amy Klobuchar (12.1%) and Andrew Yang (1%).

On Wednesday, Mr Biden went after the two Democratic frontrunners by name – an unusual move by the former vice-president.

“We need a nominee who can help Democrats up and down the ticket,” Mr Biden said.

“But if Senator Sanders is the nominee for the party, every Democrat in America will have to carry the label Senator Sanders has chose for himself a democratic socialist.”

He later said it would be a “risk” to nominate 38-year-old Mr Buttigieg, “someone who’s never held an office higher than mayor of a town of 100,000 people”.

Iowa Democratic officials have said a “coding error” in the system caused the results delay, firmly rejecting suggestions that something more sinister, such as a hack or fix, might have swayed the outcome.

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