Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll With VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Hillary Clinton on US leading in coronavirus cases: Trump 'did promise "America First"' MORE's presidential campaign declared victory in the Iowa caucuses over Bernie SandersBernie SandersCoronavirus makes the campaign season treacherous for Joe Biden Biden could be picking the next president: VP choice more important than ever Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE on Monday night, even as the results were still being tallied. 

Clinton was leading Sanders 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting, according to CNN, and her aides were saying that based on the numbers they were looking at, she was the winner. 


In a short speech in Des Moines, Clinton stopped shy of declaring a victory, though she did concede she was "breathing a big sigh of relief."

'What a great campaign this has been," she said, adding that it's been a "real contest of ideas." 

She also seemingly took a page from the Sanders playbook at one point in her remarks. 

"I am a progressive who gets things done for people," she declared. 

Sanders separately declared a moral victory in the too-close-to-call race.

In a speech minutes later, Sanders said that while the results weren't final, he and Clinton were "in a virtual tie." And he concluded that he would have half of Iowa's delegates. 

He stressed that when he came to Iowa nine months ago, he had no political organization, no money and no name recognition and was taking on the powerful Clinton network. He highlighted that the average contribution to his campaign has been $27 and that his was the only Democratic organization without a super-PAC. 

Clinton, learning lessons from her loss in the Hawkeye State in 2008, devoted a majority of the campaign's resources to the state. The Des Moines Register reported Monday that in the campaign's final days, an army of volunteers knocked on more than 238,000 doors. Even campaign manager Robby Mook got in on the act, flying in from New York to go door to door. 

One Clinton ally who served her campaign in 2008 argued that the final result wasn't surprising.

"The state demographics were made for him," the ally said, adding that it's "basically an electorate that is very much like Vermont. So the fact that Hillary is doing as well as she is shows how strong she is tonight and how strong her campaign is."

Clinton aides said in recent months that they expected the Iowa vote to be close. But even some allies feel as though they took the Sanders campaign for granted. 

"I don't think they took him seriously," one longtime ally said. 

Another Democratic strategist who is pro-Clinton said it was "effectively a Sanders win." While the strategist expected Sanders to win the New Hampshire primary next week and Clinton to take the upcoming South Carolina primary, Nevada could be up for grabs.

"Now all eyes on Nevada," the strategist said. "If Sanders can win in a more diverse state, this is Clinton's 2008 nightmare playing out all over again."

Updated Feb. 3 at 12:19 a.m.