Campaigns given more time to ask for a recanvass of caucus results

Iowa Democratic Party chair says upcoming review should answer questions

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price faces the media on Friday while announcing steps to be taken to restore public confidence in the Iowa caucus process. (Photo by Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch)

In what could be a purely symbolic move, the Iowa Democratic Party is giving the presidential campaigns three additional days to request a recanvass of Monday’s caucus results.

The deadline had been noon Friday. Three hours after that deadline passed, and with no requests having been made, it was extended to noon Monday.

There’s no indication any of the campaigns requested more time to make such a request. In fact, the one candidate most likely to gain from a recanvass, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has said, “We won in Iowa.”

With virtually all of the caucus results tabulated, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg narrowly leads Sanders in the all-important race for state delegate equivalents, which is the metric by which the winner of the caucus is usually determined. Sanders has argued that his  2,500-vote lead in raw totals makes him the winner.

The IDP is also giving the presidential campaigns until noon Saturday to submit any evidence they have of what the party calls “data-entry inaccuracies.”

The actions were announced at a Friday afternoon press conference by Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price.

Price declined to answer many questions about the issues that caused long delays in the process of tabulating the caucus results, or the problems that led to errors and inconsistencies in the results that finally were reported. He said those questions will be addressed once the entire process has been analyzed.

“We will be undergoing an independent, forensic review of the challenges that we saw Monday night — what went right and what went wrong, from start to finish,” he said. “This review will take however long is needed.”

Some of the problems are tied to an app that was used to transmit results from caucus sites to party headquarters. Results submitted through the app may have been skewed by what party officials have described as a coding error. Caucus officials then had trouble bypassing the app and using phones to report their results, with some of them remaining on hold for an hour or more.

The app was developed by the tech company Shadow Inc., which has ties to Acronym, a non-profit organization dedicating to advancing progressive causes. Shadow’s CEO is Gerard Niemira, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Asked what role, if any, the Democratic National Committee played in selecting Shadow to develop the app, Price said, “This will all come out as part of the review, the investigation. But it was through our own RFP process that Shadow was selected.”

Price acknowledged he hadn’t tested the app himself, noting that he wasn’t going to be one of the people using it on caucus night. He said he didn’t know when the app was first tested prior to Monday’s caucus.

With virtually all of the votes from Monday’s caucusing now counted, Buttigieg claimed 564 state delegate equivalents or 26.2%.  Sanders won 562 state delegate equivalents, or 26.1%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in third, with 18%; former Vice President Joe Biden placed fourth with 15.8%, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar had 12.3%.  Andrew Yang had 1% and Tom Steyer was the only other candidate to claim state delegate equivalents with 0.3%

Clark Kauffman
Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.