© 2024 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Iowa Caucus Results 'Taking Longer Than Expected'

John Pemble / IPR
Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed victory in the Iowa caucuses in a speech at Drake University in Des Moines.

The head of the Iowa Democratic Party says the party is manually verifying the results of Monday night’s first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. 

In a brief conference call with media at 1 a.m. Tuesday,  party chair Troy Price said the unusual delay in reporting the results is a “reporting issue,” and “not a hack or an intrusion.”

This was the first year in which the party planned to report three sets of results: how voters initially caucused, how caucusgoers realigned, and the number of delegates each candidate would receive.  Late Monday night, IDP communications director Mandy McClure released a statement saying the party had found, “…inconsistencies in reporting the three sets of results.”

In his statement to reporters, Price said the party was, “validating every piece of data we have against our paper trail.”  In this year’s caucus, participants wrote down their name and their candidate choice on a preference card and turned it in at the end of the caucus, creating a paper trail.

Before ending his statement, Price said the party expected to report results later Tuesday, though he was not more specific.

Trouble with the new reporting app?

Some precinct chairs reported issues with transmitting their results through the party’s mobile app as well as through the party’s telephone hotline.

Jon Green, a precinct chair in Johnson County says he tried to use the app but says he encountered an error message.

Instead he reported his results by phone and by emailing a photo of results to the IDP. He described the hotline as a “hold logjam."

“Chaos,” he said of the overall situation.

Chris Liebig, a precinct secretary in Johnson County, says he resorted to pen and paper to calculate the results at his site, after hearing midway through caucus night that there were issues with the app.

“So we had to do the arithmetic ourselves, which is not that hard,” Liebig said.

Other precinct chairs reported wait times on the telephone hotline ranging from 20 to 40 minutes.

Another precinct chair said they submitted their results via the app and didn’t report any issues.

Candidates address supporters

Despite the lack of caucus results, several candidates appeared before supporters at watch parties in Des Moines Monday night.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed victory before his supporters.

He spoke for some 20 minutes to a crowd of supporters at Drake University and told them that Iowa has shocked the nation.

Buttigieg said his strong showing in the state will send him to the New Hampshire primary on a high note.

“So, with hope in our hearts and fire in our bellies, we’re going on to New Hampshire, on to the nomination and on to chart a new course for this country that we love,” Buttigieg said. “Thank you. Thank you Iowa.”

Buttigieg said he had built a coalition of progressives, moderates and people he likes to call "future former Republicans."

He said from the beginning of his campaign in Iowa on a cold January day a year ago he knew his message would bring people together.

“We had the belief that in the face of exhaustion and cynicism and division,” Buttigieg said. “In spite of every trampled norm and every poisonous tweet, that a rising majority of Americans was hungry for action and ready for new answers.”

Buttigieg said there have been plenty of people skeptical of his campaign, but Iowa proved the skeptics wrong.

Credit Katarina Sostaric / IPR
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke to supporters in downtown Des Moines Monday night.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign also claimed a top spot, saying Warren was one of the top three candidates coming out of Monday night, even though results had not yet been released.

Warren gave a speech at a caucus night party in downtown Des Moines, anyway.

“We don’t know all the results tonight, but tonight has already showed that Americans have a deep hunger for big structural change, to make our economy and our democracy work for everyone,” Warren said. “Tonight showed that our path to victory is to fight hard for the changes Americans are demanding.”

She thanked her Iowa supporters for making her a better candidate.

“This race started right here in Iowa. But from tomorrow, it will run from ocean to ocean. East to New Hampshire and then west to Nevada, and then down to South Carolina, this fight will stretch across all 57 states and territories that make up this great nation until we unite together as a party in Milwaukee,” Warren said, referencing the Democratic National Convention in Wisconsin.

After the speech, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau responded to questions from reporters about the lack of caucus results.

“It’s a mess,” Lau said. “But we feel confident that it’s close at the top: Warren, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. I believe the vice president [Joe Biden] is a distant fourth based on the data we have.”

Lau added he thinks Warren has “a ticket out of Iowa” and said the campaign would head to New Hampshire “and beyond.”

Des Moines resident Kyrstin Delagardelle caucused for Warren, and she didn’t think the delay in results was abnormal.

“I don’t think it’s disconcerting,” Delagardelle said. “With record turnout, I think it’s to be expected.”She added she thinks the caucus process is a unique Iowa experience that gives neighbors the chance to discuss issues together.

Credit Natalie Krebs / IPR
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders addressed supporters on Des Moines' south side.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders showed little evidence the delayed results dampened his confidence in Iowa Democratic voters. He took to the podium at a campaign celebration in Des Moines and joked that he had a strong feeling “that at some point” results would be announced.

“And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa.”

After a narrow loss to Hillary Clinton in the state four years ago, Sanders hoped to rekindle the energy that led him into a prolonged competition in 2016. His platform includes Medicare for All, free public college tuition and comprehensive immigration reform.

While detractors have criticized his policies for being too socialist and some have worried about his health after a heart attack last year, Sanders said his presidency would bring the country together after years of rhetoric that has driven wedges between groups of people.

“Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history,” Sanders said.

“All of that hatred, all of that divisiveness is going to end when together we are in the White House.”

Urbandale resident Matthew Peirce said he caucused for Sanders in a precinct where many of the candidates had strong and dedicated supporters.

“It was a tough fight between the Petes and the Yang people and the Warren people and the Klobuchar people,” Peirce said, adding that the number of candidates who had supporters in the room surprised him.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and entrepreneur Andrew Yang also spoke to supporters in Des Moines last night.

Credit Grant Gerlock / IPR
Former Vice President Joe Biden told supporters gathered at Drake University that he's ready to move on to New Hampshire.

Rather than focus on the delay in getting results, Vice President Joe Biden told his supporters he is ready to move on to New Hampshire and the other early primary states.

In a brief speech at Drake University in Des Moines, Biden focused on President Trump and said Democrats should choose a nominee who can heal political divisions.

“We can’t hold grudges,” Biden said. “We’ve got to be able to go out and unify the country because a president has got to be able to heal as well as fight.”

Although his caucus speech did not focus on problems reporting results, Biden’s campaign did question the Iowa Democratic Party’s handling of the situation Monday night.

“The app that was intended to relay Caucus results to the Party failed; the Party’s back-up telephonic reporting system likewise has failed,” wrote general counsel Dana Remus in message to state party chair Troy Price and executive director Kevin Geiken.

Remus called for a full explanation of the flaws in the caucus reporting system and a chance to respond before results are announced.

Michael Leland is IPR's News Director
Grant Gerlock is a reporter covering Des Moines and central Iowa
Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames
Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter
Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter