The Associated Press is refusing to declare Hillary Clinton the winner of the Iowa Democratic caucus because the race remains too close to call.
UPDATE: The Sanders campaign will not be challenging the results of the caucuses. The AP has declared Hillary Clinton the winner in Iowa.
In a message to its member news organizations and customers, Paul Colford Vice President and Director of Media Relations for the AP posted:
The Iowa Democratic caucuses remain too close to call with a difference of less than three-tenths of 1 percent with all but one precinct reporting. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has not conceded and the state Democratic Party has not responded to AP’s questions about whether they intend to do a recount of the caucus reports of candidate support.
The party’s delegate selection plan requires that the state party certify the results and report them to the Democratic National Committee within three days of that certification. But the plan does not spell out what such a certification would involve. The AP will continue to report on developments and will advise with any updates.
In other words, unless Sanders concedes or the state Democratic Party certifies the results, the race is still too close to call in the view of the Associated Press. What the AP is doing is good, smart, responsible journalism. The results are not official yet.
The Iowa Democratic Party announced the awarding of delegates, but they did not declare an official winner. If Bernie Sanders decides to challenge the results, or a recount is done that changes the result, the AP’s caution will be rewarded.
The reality is that Clinton and Sanders did as Sanders put it, “virtually tie.” The win has political value regarding perception and momentum, but no matter who is awarded the victory, it was not clear and decisive. If anything, the Sanders campaign demonstrated that Clinton remains vulnerable to being defeated by a candidate that can draw waves of young, new, and non-religious voters to the Democratic Party.
The AP’s statement is a good reminder that there is no official winner in Iowa yet, which is proof that the race for the Democratic nomination is a close contest.