ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The first ever satellite Iowa Caucus in St. Petersburg took place on Monday night, and the big winner was Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.
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Klobuchar has been a distant fifth in most polls taken in advance of the Iowa Caucus, but she was by far the most popular choice of the Iowans who participated in St. Pete, taking 48 votes.
Next best was former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 21 votes, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 18 and former Vice President Joe Biden with 17.
In the first “alignment,” only Buttigieg and Klobuchar were “viable,” meaning that they had received the 15% required to advance to the second alignment.
There were five original supporters for Andrew Yang, and one for Tulsi Gabbard. In the second realignment, those voters teamed up to get Warren and Biden into viability.
“What I have found in talking with voters is that there are a lot of undecided voters at this point, a very large amount, even on caucus day and I firmly believe that with my conversations with people, Joe Biden is either everybody’s top choice or second choice.”
He definitely received more second choice votes. During the first alignment, Biden received only 15 votes. With candidates needing 15 percent to advance and there being 103 voters in the room, the magic number was 16. But in the second round, Biden picked up three more votes to qualify for a delegate.
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That meant that when the Warren and Sanders people banded together, most of them rallied by Warren, who has been chosen as a “second choice” in early polling in Iowa.
Sanders supporters told Spectrum Bay News 9 that they were surprised that their candidate struck out.
“I was really surprised. I thought he would be stronger than Amy,” said Jay Alexander, a Pinellas County resident wearing a Bernie Sanders T-shirt.
In terms of supporters outside the Saint Andrew Lutheran Church, it was a veritable army of Bernie activists lined up for the television cameras.. There were also a contingent of visible Buttigieg and Warren fans.
Ultimately, it’s about delegates.. Organizer Donna Winter announced that based on their small grouping, it would work out that Klobuchar received four delegates out of the caucus, Warren and Buttigieg received two and Biden one. That would be part of the overall satellite caucus total. Iowa has only 41 delegates that they’ll send to the Democratic National Convention this summer.
This was the first time in the nearly 50 year history of the Iowa Caucus that there are satellite caucuses taking place. That’s because the Democratic National Committee ordered the Iowa Democratic Party to make the caucuses more inclusive and accessible, since they are of such importance and yet are difficult for many to attend in Iowa since they take place at 7PM at night in sometimes rough weather conditions – and you have to be there in person.
The event took about two hours in full, from beginning to end.