Confusion in Iowa but two men emerge as serious contenders to challenge Donald Trump

This has been quite a night to kick off America’s 2020 election race.

Iowa had everything: technical chaos as officials struggled to compile accurate results; competing victory speeches by multiple candidates; and conspiracy theories abounding.

What is it about America and elections?

Should counting votes really be this difficult?

The scenes in Iowa reminded me of the 2000 fiasco when Americans were endlessly waiting for the results of Florida before they could discover who their next president would be.

But confusion aside, we know this: two men had a strong night and can genuinely claim momentum.

After 62% of results were released on Tuesday evening, former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was ahead on 26.9%, followed by Bernie Sanders on 25.1%.

Elizabeth Warren was third on 18.3% and Joe Biden fourth on 15.6%.

The two frontrunners move to New Hampshire with a bounce in their step and the ability to raise funds and to motivate supporters.

  • How does the Iowa caucus work?

Senator Elizabeth Warren lives to fight another day, but coming third is still not the springboard she hoped for.

As for former Vice President Joe Biden, well, it’s a sad story of a man who had poor organisation, failed to impress, and who now will watch as money and resources flow towards other candidates.

But Biden is not out of it.

This is a marathon, not a sprint, and he will soon be fighting in more promising states with voters who like his message of unity and healing.

Iowa is a game of expectations, and Pete Buttigieg is the surprise of the night.

The 38-year-old candidate, a former mayor of a medium-sized city in Indiana, a gay man, a soldier who served in Afghanistan, has achieved something few thought possible.

He has become a genuine contender.

Buttigieg hopes to follow in the footsteps of another man who did well in Iowa, and who had a distinctive last name.

And we all know that Barack Obama took the momentum from here, never looked back, and ended up in the White House.