After months and months of campaigning and millions of dollars in spending, Democrats in Iowa were unable to immediately produce any vote totals for the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses on Monday night, denying the winner an immediate momentum boost into New Hampshire, and once again raising questions about Iowa's place at the start of the campaign calendar.
"This is a total mess," tweeted Julian Castro, a former Democratic candidate for the White House. "I respect the people of Iowa, they’ve been great — but it’s become very clear that our democracy has been misserved by a broken system."
"Democracy dies in the darkness!" said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
After touting a new election app to help deliver multiple vote details from the precinct caucuses, local Democratic officials instead encountered software problems, long delays on the phone to manually deliver the numbers - but absolutely no results by the time the clock struck midnight in Des Moines.
It left Iowa Democratic Party officials to tell candidates that no vote numbers would be released until at least later on Tuesday.
At one point on live on CNN, a precinct official from Story County, Iowa was detailing how he had been on hold for so long - when suddenly the phone line was answered - and then, the Iowa Democratic Party hung up on the official, Shawn Sebastian.
"They hung up on me," he said to a bewildered CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
With no numbers, the candidates started making statements to supporters - unable to capitalize on a good performance, or alternately, able to get away without reporters seeing the tears of crushed supporters.
The lack of vote totals also left the Democratic field in an odd limbo as they left for New Hampshire - where a victory in Iowa can mean an automatic boost, while a bad performance could also raise questions about the viability of a campaign.
But the lack of numbers didn't deter some like Pete Buttigieg, who all but declared victory in a speech which took place after midnight.
The election chaos - under the auspices of the Iowa Democratic Party - again raised the question of whether the Hawkeye State should maintain its place on top of the election calendar.
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