Though the results are coming much later than expected, former mayor Pete Buttigieg has won the Iowa caucus. The announcement is historic, making Buttigieg the first openly gay candidate to win the Iowa primary, which is looked at as an important point in the presidential election.
With 100% of precincts reporting, Buttigieg’s lead over opponent Bernie Sanders is less than one tenth of a percent when it comes to the delegate count. And though it is minute, making for a statistical tie, the reality is that Buttigieg was ahead! Some have called for a recanvas and others like the Associated Press refuse to officially announce the results as they have been mired in controversy as there are potential errors in the count.
But as of the current results, Buttigieg won 26.2% of delegate equivalents. Sanders had 26.13%
That said, Sanders won the popular vote, outpacing Buttigieg by some 2,000 caucusgoers according to the Des Moines Register. Now the candidates — Elizabeth Warren came in at third place — look toward the New Hampshire Primary.
Buttigieg's achievement is unprecedented for openly queer politicians. Though it does not in anyway show that homophobia is over — a caucusgoer in Iowa showed that on film — it does show that there certainly has been progress. That progress, of course, comes with a candidate that is decisively not as progressive as many LGBTQ+ voters hope for him to be. The candidate has been routinely called out for blind spots as it results to trans folks, as well as communities of color.
Celebrating his progress and success in Iowa, for many, requires reckoning with those criticisms.
“It validates a kid somewhere in a community wondering if he belongs, or she belongs, or they belong in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief,” Buttigieg said of the significance of his success in a speech earlier this week as partial results came in showing him in the lead.