POLITICS

Buttigieg, Sanders Still Lead Pack In Latest Results Of 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses

Party officials blamed the vote-count delay on "technical difficulties" as precinct workers tried out an an app to report results.

Limited results released this week by the Iowa Democratic Party show former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leading Iowa’s Democratic presidential caucuses, with former Vice President Joe Biden in a surprising fourth place.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was in third place in the initial returns, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was in fifth. 

The results continue to trickle in: Just after midnight on Thursday, 97% of precincts had been counted, and it is unknown whether they are representative of the full state. Sanders led by one metric (the final popular vote) while Buttigieg led by the total of state delegate equivalents (SDEs).

The inconclusive returns followed Monday night’s chaotic caucus in which the Iowa Democratic Party failed to reveal any results. Party officials said a “coding error” caused an app designed for transmitting caucus results to report only “partial data.”

Although there is insufficient data to determine the winner of the caucuses, they appear to have been damaging for Biden ― long considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. He trailed Sanders, Buttigieg and Warren in the popular vote by a distant margin.

Head over to HuffPost’s Election HQ for a breakdown of the results.

Whoever receives the highest percentage of the state delegate equivalent (SDE) count wins the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

As of early Thursday morning, initial results showed Buttigieg with 550 SDEs. Sanders was in second with 547 SDEs. Warren had 381 and Biden had 331. Klobuchar had 255, businessman Andrew Yang had 22 and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer had 7.

The final popular vote showed Sanders in the lead with 44,753 supporters, ahead of Buttigieg with 42,235 supporters, Warren with 34,312, Biden with 23,051 and Klobuchar with 20,525 supporters.

At a news conference in Des Moines ahead of the release of the initial results, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price apologized for the reporting breakdown. 

“The reporting of the results and circumstances surrounding the 2020 Iowa Democratic Party caucuses were unacceptable,” Price said. “As chair of the party, I apologize deeply for this.”

The Iowa Democratic Party has not announced when the remaining results will be released.

Chaos erupted Monday night as the country awaited the caucus results, only to find out that the Iowa Democrats were conducting a “quality control” check and couldn’t say when the numbers would be released.

Since 1972, Iowa has been the first state to hold electoral contests in the presidential primary season. The caucuses have historically been a strong predictor of who will go on to win a party’s nomination.

Buttigieg became visibly emotional on Tuesday while speaking at a campaign event in New Hampshire moments after the initial Iowa results dropped.

“It validates for the kid, somewhere in the community, wondering if he belongs or she belongs or they belong in their own family,” Buttigieg, who is openly gay, said of his early lead in the caucuses. “That if you believe in yourself and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief.”

Amid Monday night’s confusion in Iowa, the candidates flocked to New Hampshire, which holds the election cycle’s first primary next Tuesday.

This story has been updated to include the latest results announced by the Iowa Democratic Party.

Clarification: Language has been adjusted to explain more clearly how state delegate equivalents determine the winner of the caucus.