Recanvassing could lead to a caucus recount

Sanders, Buttigieg each request partial recanvassing

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price faces the media on Feb. 10 in Des Moines, while discussing requests for a partial recanvassing of the 2020 caucus results. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich, Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Presidential candidates may still request a recount of Iowa caucus results after the Iowa Democratic Party finishes recanvassing its reporting of precinct-level numbers, state party chairman Troy Price said Monday.

If that happens, it could further extend the final determination of which candidate actually won the Feb. 3 caucuses.

“It is safe to say that this is not the caucus that hundreds of thousands of Iowa Democrats deserved,” Price said.  “And as I said a week ago, I apologize deeply for this.”

Campaigns for Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have each asked the Iowa Democratic Party for a partial recanvass of caucus results totaling 143 unique precincts, Price said.

An earlier statement from IDP said its recount/recanvass committee would review the requests to determine whether each meets the standard for review under the party’s delegate selection plan. The committee will inform the campaigns of its assessment of the requests within 48 hours.

However, this recanvass will not correct any errors in the results as reported from individual precinct chairs to the state party, Price said.

“Because these sheets are signed not only by the precinct chair and the precinct secretary, they are also signed by campaign representatives,” he said. “So for us, they are the official record of what took place in the room and we don’t believe we should be altering what is the official record of what happened in the room.”

Price said once the recanvassing process is complete, however, candidates may request a recount.  A recount would be necessary to address errors in the precinct reporting of results, he said. He did not answer a question about how long a recount process could take.

While Price has repeatedly apologized for the inconsistencies and errors that have delayed final reporting of caucus results, he pushed back Monday at recriminations from Democratic National  Chairman Tom Perez..

Perez last week called for an immediate recanvass of the results and hinted that Iowa could lose its first-in-the-nation status.

“Obviously, I was very disappointed by the chairman’s comments,” Price said. “You know, this has been a full partnership with the DNC throughout this entire time.”

He said IDP’s job now is to finish the process of reviewing results. “There’s going to be a time to assign blame but I will tell you DNC has been a partner in this process up to, including and after caucus night.”

Perez told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that the DNC shares responsibility whenever something goes wrong with a state party and “we’re all in this together. But, he added, he was “mad as hell” about the caucus reporting failures and Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status to be reviewed.

Price acknowledged but did not apologize for the party’s lack of public communication about the reporting problems on caucus night and in the days afterward.  “It can appear that outside voices are speaking freely but the Iowa Democratic Party is not. Let me make something clear: This is not a PR exercise for us,” he said, reiterating that the party’s mission was to complete the caucus and “deliver a coalition to beat Donald Trump.”

The Sanders campaign said earlier on Monday that correcting the errors the campaign previously reported to the party would result in Sanders winning one additional national delegate.

“While a recanvass is just the first step in the process and (while) we don’t expect it to change the current calculations, it is a necessary part of making sure Iowans can trust the final results of the caucus,” Sanders campaign Senior Advisor Jeff Weaver said in a news release

The Iowa Democratic Party on Sunday night projected that Pete Buttigieg had won 14 national delegates, based on the share of state delegate equivalents attributed to him during the caucuses.  Sanders was projected to receive 12 national delegates.

Earlier this week, Sanders scoffed during a CNN town hall at the question of whether he would ask for a recount. “We’ve got enough of Iowa. I think we should move on to New Hampshire,” he told forum moderator Anderson Cooper. “It really did distress me because I went all over Iowa and the people there are really great people who take their responsibility of the first caucus in the country very, very seriously.”

The signed letter from Sanders is here.