Caucus voting began across Iowa Monday night with Democrats balancing their desire for fundamental change with their craving to defeat President Trump as they opened the first contest of the 2020 presidential primary season, per the AP. Polls suggested that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders might have a narrow lead, but any of the top four candidates—Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg—could score a victory in Iowa's unpredictable and quirky caucus system as organizers prepared for record turnout. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who represents neighboring Minnesota, was also claiming momentum, while outsider candidates including entrepreneur Andrew Yang, billionaire activist Tom Steyer and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard could be factors.
Meanwhile, ultrabillionaire Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, is running a parallel campaign that ignores Iowa as he prepares to pounce on any perceived weaknesses in the field come March. The amalgam of oddities, including new rules for reporting the already complicated caucus results, was building toward what could be a murky Iowa finale before the race pivots quickly to New Hampshire, which votes just eight days later. New party rules may give more than one candidate an opportunity to claim victory, even if they aren't the official winner. For the first time, the Iowa Democratic Party will report three sets of results at the end of the night: tallies of the “first alignment” of caucusgoers, their “final alignment,” and the total number of state delegate equivalents each candidate receives. There is no guarantee that all three will show the same winner. (Read more Iowa caucuses stories.)