5:34 am - Democratic Party says data from 90 precincts are missing. Clinton/Sanders campaigns remain in a virtual tie.

10:56 - 94% of Democratic precincts are reporting and Sanders has come closer to Hillary than ever. If only O'Malley wasn't in the race -- too late for that:

I project a chance of furious tomorrow among many Democrats.

Clinton 49.9%
Sanders 49.6%
O'Malley 0.5%

10:35 - 93 percent of the Democratic precincts are reporting for Iowa where Clinton and Sanders are still too close to call:

Clinton 50.1%
Sanders 49.4%
O'Malley 0.5%

10:27 - In a surprise, Rubio came in a very close third with 99 percent of the Republican precincts reporting:

Cruz (won) 27.7%
Trump 24.3%
Rubio 23.1%

10:19 - Cruz wins Iowa where he was neck-and-neck with Trump. He now faces a steep climb to beat Trump in the early states where Trump's lead is 20 points or more.

10:13 - "I love the people of Iowa," says Donald Trump. "We finished second and I am honored."

10:09 - Ted Cruz wins Iowa but state has chosen the losing nominee in 2012 (Santorum) and 2008 (Huckabee).

10:01 - Ted Cruz may face a harder election to beat Trump in New Hampshire and South Carolina where polls overwhelmingly support Trump. Until recently, Trump's polls only reached on the margin of error in Iowa.

9:58 - Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have success rate of 43% in predicting which Democratic candidate would win the party presidential nomination, while for Republicans the success rate was 50%.

9:57 - Clinton/Sanders too close to call.

9:20 - Multiple media organizations call the caucuses for Sen. Ted Cruz. See Spero News report.

Republican Delegates Allocated: 0/30
T. Cruz 28.3% 31,036
D. Trump 25.0% 27,434
M. Rubio 21.9% 23,997
B. Carson 9.6% 10,594
R. Paul 4.5% 4,894
J. Bush 2.8% 3,039
J. Kasich 1.8% 2,008
C. Fiorina 1.8% 1,995
M. Huckabee 1.7% 1,892
C. Christie 1.6% 1,723
R. Santorum 1.0% 1,084
Other 0.1% 82
J. Gilmore 0.0% 10

9:03 - O'Malley suspending presidential campaign after poor showing in Iowa. Clinton's lead has dropped to less than 2 percent.

8:50 - Microsoft’s search-engine technology is forecasting that Donald Trump will win Iowa, as well as New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. In addition, Bing predicts Trump to score a 9-percentage point victory over Ted Cruz in Iowa and double-digit triumphs in the next three states.

Currently, Cruz leads with a 3.56% margin with 55% of precincts reporting.

The February 1 caucuses being held in Iowa are the first presidential primary in the nation. Iowans are going to the polls in the expectation of choosing the nominee of their respective parties. They are also expecting a heavy snowfall of approximately 10 inches that will blanket the Hawkeye State at about the time the caucuses close at 10:00 p.m. Central Time. The race is predicted to be close. Early results show that supporters of former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, once they realize that their candidate could not garner enough support, are throwing their weight behind Sen. Bernie Sanders instead.
Caucus attendees went to their caucus sites at 6:00 p.m. local time. By 7 p.m., with 7 percent of the caucuses reporting the results for Republicans were as follows:
Cruz 30
Trump 29
Rubio 18
Carson 10
Paul 4
Bush 2
Huckabee 2
Fiorina 2
Christie 1
Santorum 1
Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have success rate of 43% in predicting which Democratic candidate would win the party presidential nomination, while for Republicans the success rate was 50%.
Microsoft is providing a new app to both the Republicans and Democrats to be used to tally up the votes for the 1,600+ caucus sites across Iowa. According to The Hill, the contests are expected to be close, so the media spotlight will be on precinct officials who have been trained on the Microsoft app, which is expected to minimize human error.
Human error figured into the erroneous report in 2012 in which Mitt Romney was declared to be the winner for weeks, even though Rick Sanctorum would see a narrow victory after the final tally was made. The Microsoft app is intended to correct that error.
“Microsoft and their App partner, InterKnowlogy, are global leaders in the technology industry, and we completely trust the integrity of their staff and the app,” Iowa Democratic Party communications director Sam Lau said in a statement. Pete D’Alessandro, who runs the Sanders operation in Iowa, has questioned Microsoft's motivations. However, the Sanders campaign declined to clarify its concerns despite multiple requests. Even so, some of Sanders’ aides have said that Microsoft employees have given hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to the Clinton campaign. “You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free,” D’Alessandro said. So, despite assurances that everyone is confident in the new system, both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have installed their own backup reporting systems.
Univision reporter Jorge Ramos is reporting live from Des Moines on his Facebook page. He reported on a precinct where supporters of Martin O’Malley swung to support Sen. Bernie Sanders. Ramos spoke in both Spanish and English. In one case, he asked a voter “Are you Latina?” When she answered “Yes,” they went on to speak in Spanish. See livestream here.
With another observer, Ramos noted that that whites make up more than 90 % of the Des Moines population. Even so, older black voters appear to gravitate to Hillary Clinton. Ramos was joined by Nando Vila of the Fusion website and Jason Johnson, Political Editor for The Root. A native of Mexico, Ramos paid tribute to the democratic system in the U.S. saying that in the 1960s and 1970s, fellow Mexicans were killed for exercising their right to vote.
On Ramos' Facebook page, fans pitched their comments in Spanish and English about the proceedings and Ramos himself. For example, 'Fer y Flor Pichardo' wrote in Spanish: "Y los Latinos no vinemos a estas Tierras. Retornamos a nuestras tierras que nos pertenecen. Es todo." Translation: And Latino did not come to these Lands. We are returning to our Lands that belong to us. That's all.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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