The Iowa Democratic Party announced that 100 percent of precincts were finally reporting results late Thursday night — 72 hours after the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses concluded on Monday, and after numerous irregularities led the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to call for a complete recanvass.
The state party’s numbers showed that Pete Buttigieg would be awarded 564.012 SDEs, or state delegate equivalents, while Bernie Sanders would receive 562.497 SDEs. Sanders held a sizeable popular vote lead, though, and finished ahead of Buttigieg by a 43,671 to 37,557 vote margin. He fell behind in delegates due to Iowa’s unusual voting system that gave different delegate weights to different precincts.
After the “second alignment” — meaning the popular vote after the elimination of candidates who received fewer than 15 percent of the vote in the first round of caucusing — Sanders was still ahead of Buttigieg, 45,826 votes to 43,195.
Nevertheless, as the results posted, Buttigieg was speaking on-stage at a CNN town hall, and anchor Chris Cuomo suggested the former South Bend, Ind. mayor had won the caucuses by delegate count.
“That is fantastic news,” Buttigieg said. “We are looking to New Hampshire and beyond.”
But Sanders, minutes earlier and throughout the day, had said he won the race.
The disastrous caucuses drew mockery from President Trump earlier in the day, as he openly suggested in the East Room of the White House that Democrats cannot be trusted to run the nation’s health care system if they cannot even count votes in a timely and reliable manner.
It remained unclear whether the results would stand, or whether there could be more changes. DNC head Tom Perez earlier Thursday called for a “recanvass” of the results of the Iowa caucuses, saying it was needed to “assure public confidence” after three days of apparent technical issues, irregularities in vote counting, and delays.
”Enough is enough,” Perez wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press said Thursday that it is unable to declare a winner of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses.
“The Associated Press calls a race when there is a clear indication of a winner. Because of a tight margin between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders and the irregularities in this year’s caucus process, it is not possible to determine a winner at this point,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor.
The caucus crisis was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting Iowa as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled 2020 field. Instead, after a buildup that featured seven rounds of debates, nearly $1 billion spent nationwide and a year of political jockeying, caucus day ended with no winner and no official results.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Sanders called the Iowa Democratic Party’s management of the caucuses a “screw-up” that has been “extremely unfair” to the candidates and their supporters.
“We’ve got enough of Iowa,” he said later Thursday at a CNN town hall, just before Buttigieg spoke. “I think we should move onto New Hampshire.”