Election 2020

Dumpster Fire Update: Iowa Dems Squabble With DNC Over Caucus Results

Supporters for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raise their hands to be counted during a Democratic party caucus at Hoover High School, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Iowa caucus cock-up has broken out into a blazing dumpster fire. On Thursday, three days after the caucuses, the results are not still complete, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is calling for a recanvass. The Iowa Democratic Party is in no mood for such shenanigans, however.

As of Thursday afternoon, the first-in-the-nation Democratic contest remained very close, with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg slightly ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), 26.2 percent to 26.1 percent in state delegate equivalents, with 96 percent of results accounted for. Both Buttigieg and Sanders have claimed victory.

The Iowa Democratic Party had delayed releasing any results for almost 24 hours, and then on Wednesday, it announced that the results it had finally released contained errors! This has already delayed crucial momentum in the New Hampshire primary, which takes place this coming Tuesday. It is feasible that full Iowa caucuses results will not be available until after this second contest.

“Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass,” Perez announced on Twitter Thursday. “A recanvass is a review of the worksheets from each caucus site to ensure accuracy. The IDP will continue to report results.”

Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, did not take kindly to this idea. In a statement reported by The Hill, he tried to cut the DNC out of the process.


“Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared,” Price said. “This is the official record of the Iowa Democratic caucus, and we are committed to ensuring the results accurately reflect the preference of Iowans. While I fully acknowledge that the reporting circumstances on Monday night were unacceptable, we owe it to the thousands of Iowa Democratic volunteers and caucusgoers to remain focused on collecting and reviewing incoming results.”

Price explained that the party identified “inconsistencies in the data” by collecting records of results and using “redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors.” He insisted that the party is working “diligently” to report the results of the final 54 precincts.

In order for any candidate to request a recanvass, his or her campaign would have to file a written request including the scope of the problem and a credible explanation of why a recanvass is warranted. The party would then have 48 hours to respond.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign voiced “real concerns about the integrity of the process” on Tuesday morning, but it seems no campaign has filed a recanvass request. If the full results come out later on Thursday or on Friday and a candidate requests a recanvass, the delay might prevent a final settlement of the Iowa caucuses before the New Hampshire primary. This scandal may spell the end of Iowa’s status as host of the first contest in presidential primaries.

It should also make Americans increasingly skeptical about the competence of the party that wishes to impose government control over various markets, especially health care.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.