Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa caucus, says statement from Clinton campaign

Mrs Hillary Clinton and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. PHOTOS: AFP/EPA

DES MOINES, IOWA (REUTERS/AFP) - A statement issued by the Clinton campaign has said that United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa caucus for the Democratic Party nomination, with official final results still outstanding in the extremely close presidential nominations contest.

"Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa caucus. After thorough reporting - and analysis - of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates. Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and no way that Senator Sanders can overcome Secretary Clinton's advantage," said Mr Matt Paul, Hillary for America's Iowa state director, in a statement released in the early hours of Tuesday (Feb 2) morning.

MSNBC also reported that Mrs Clinton is the "apparent winner" of the race.

"Based on the report from the Iowa Democratic Party Chair, we have marked Hillary Clinton as the apparent winner," NBC News said.

The Iowa Democratic Party, however, declined to rule in the race, placing Mrs Clinton slightly ahead of Sen Sanders but saying there were still outstanding results in one precinct.

Party chairman Andy McGuire said Mrs Clinton has been awarded 699.57 state delegate equivalents and that Sen Sanders had been awarded 695.49. But "we still have outstanding results in one precinct (Des Moines-42), which is worth 2.28 state delegate equivalents. We will report that final precinct when we have confirmed those results with the chair", he added.

"The results tonight are the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history," Mr McGuire said.

With Mrs Clinton prevailing by only four delegates, according to party figures, her rival Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, declared the result a "virtual tie".

Mrs Clinton, 68, said she was breathing a "big sigh of relief"after the results. She lost Iowa to then Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic race and never recovered.

"It is rare that we have the opportunity we do now to have a real contest of ideas," MRs Clinton said with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea joining her on stage.

Senator Sanders, 74, declared himself overwhelmed. The lawmaker, who smiled broadly as he addressed supporters, is leading in New Hampshire, home to next week's second contest, but trails Mrs Clinton in other states such as South Carolina, which holds the third contest.

"Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state, we had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition, and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America," he said.

Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who had trouble gaining any traction in the Democratic race, suspended his campaign after coming in third in Iowa with 0.6 per cent.

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