Caucus Results Put Buttigieg and Sanders Neck and Neck in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (CN) – With just over 96% of the Iowa caucus results reported early Thursday, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg maintained a razor-thin lead over Senator Bernie Sanders. The final outcome has still not been determined, however, and it is not clear when that will happen.

Buttigieg won 26.2% of the state delegates, barely edging Sanders who had 26.1%, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren at 18.2%, former Vice President Joe Biden at 15.8% and Senator Amy Kobuchar at 12.2%.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg  in Des Moines is pictured at left, beside Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in Sioux City, both on Jan. 26, 2020. After a daylong delay, partial results from Iowa’s Democratic caucuses showed Buttigieg and Sanders ahead of the pack. (AP Photo)

Neither the Iowa Democratic Party nor the Associated Press had called the race, however, because numbers that are still being tabulated could change the outcome.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called Thursday for a detailed review of the Iowa caucus results.

“Enough is enough,” Perez said on Twitter. “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.”

A recanvass is a review of the worksheets from each caucus site to ensure accuracy. It is not a recount, which could come later based on cards each caucus participant filled out Monday night showing their first choice and, if necessary, their second choice if their first pick did not meet the 15% threshold.

Earlier Thursday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price issued a statement saying that, if any presidential campaign requests a recanvass under the party’s rules, the Iowa Democratic Party “will audit the paper records of report, as provided by the precinct chairs and signed by representatives of presidential campaigns.”

“This is the official record of the Iowa Democratic caucus, and we are committed to ensuring the results accurately reflect the preference of Iowans,” Price continued.

The Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement shortly after midnight Thursday saying it had reported results from 1,711 precincts, including results from satellite caucus sites in other states and in foreign countries.

“We have collected information from all but one precinct, and those records are in transit,” the party said in the statement. “As done in previous years following the caucus, the [Iowa Democratic Party] implemented an immediate, large-scale effort to collect results for precincts that were not received on caucus night. We started with 500 outstanding precincts and now have 53 that are in the process of being reviewed.”

Iowa’s Democratic Party officially declares the winner of the Iowa caucuses based on what are called “delegate equivalents” — which is the number of delegates a candidate will take to the party’s state convention based on a mathematical formula weighted to compensate rural counties for their population disadvantage compared with urban counties.

Results of the Iowa caucuses are typically reported within hours after they conclude business, but Monday night came and went without any official results. Party officials blamed the delay on a mobile app that precinct leaders were to use in reporting results to the headquarters in Des Moines, but many caucus volunteers encountered problems and resorted to the back-up system of phoning in results. The ensuing flood of calls overwhelmed the party’s phone banks.

Meanwhile, party officials discovered inconsistencies in the caucus results and have been struggling all week to reconcile the numbers collected from caucus sites.

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