- With 71% of precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders appear to lead the pack. Until the complete results are announced, it’s unclear how Iowa’s 41 delegates will be allotted among the winners.
- The party initially released results from 62% of precincts, before tricking out a few more figures just before late on Tuesday night.
- Right now, Buttigieg is in the lead with 26.8% of the state delegates, Bernie Sanders has 25.2%, Elizabeth Warren has 18.4% and Joe Biden: has 15.5%. That ordering could change once the remaining precincts report results.
- Sanders secured the popular vote, with Buttigieg and Warren trailing slightly behind in that metric.
- It’s unclear when we’ll learn the full results from the Iowa caucuses. The delay is being blamed, in part, on a smartphone app for reporting results that was introduced just weeks before the election.
- The chairman of the Democratic National Committee has insisted that those who designed the app “provide absolute transparent accounting of what went wrong” and reassured supporters that the same technology won’t be used in upcoming primaries.
- After a poor showing in Iowa, the Biden campaign’s message that he’s the most electable candidate has come into question.
A reminder as votes are being tallied – you can track all the results in Iowa, where Pete Buttigieg currently has a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders with 62.27% of precincts reporting, via the Guardian’s live results tracker here ...
As the final results in Iowa remain elusive, CNN reports that the Democratic National Committee is taking “an increasingly active role” in chasing up data from the locations across the state where caucuses were held.
The Democratic National Committee is taking an increasingly active role in the process of tracking down the data from the nearly 1,700 caucus sites across Iowa, including checking data sent to the Iowa Democratic Party via their failed app, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
A team of roughly a dozen party officials are currently in Iowa working with the state party to report out the results of last night’s caucuses, which were delayed due to widespread reporting issues between the Iowa precincts and the Iowa Democratic Party.
The team from the DNC includes staffers tracking online disinformation, we well as data and communications staff, one source said. DNC Chair Tom Perez is not in Iowa, according to a DNC aide, but has been getting updates from the team of the ground.
The DNC officials are also chasing down data from individual caucus chairs from precincts across the state, hoping to track down precincts that had not reported their results.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party said that the DNC was “chasing precinct results,” something that they described as “something that happens after every caucus.”
After his poor showing in the initial results from Iowa, Joe Biden asked supporters in New Hampshire to “rocket” him back to the top. Biden’s campaign has touted his electability. Although Iowa ultimately has few delegates to hand out, the fact that Biden lagged behind Buttigieg, the other leading moderate in the primaries, could undercut his argument that voters view him as a safe bet.
The head of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez demanded that Shadow, the company that designed the app that has been blamed for the delay in reporting caucus results, “provide absolute transparent accounting of what went wrong”.
The app used in Iowa will not be used in Nevada, or in any other primaries, Perez said in a statement.
“As frustrating as the last 24 hours have been, let us not lose sight of our ultimate goal: to defeat Donald Trump, to take back our democracy, and to improve the lives of millions by electing Democrats up and down the ballot,” he added.
Donald Trump is expected to deliver his State of the Union speech at 9pm ET. The Guardian will have live updates as the president addresses the nation, from the same room where Congress voted to impeach him, on the eve of the final vote in his Senate trial.
Tom Steyer, who earned 0.3% of the state delegates in Iowa, per the partial results, won over the only voter in one particular precinct.
Judging by the response to Pete Buttigieg’s early lead in some quarters, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Iowa race was a done deal.
However, only 62% of the results have so far been released, which has led to some light-hearted jabs at those jumping to conclusions.
Speaking to supporters in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders touted his popular vote lead in Iowa. “Where we are is at an unprecedented moment in American history,” he said. I’m very proud to tell you that last night in Iowa we received more votes on the first and second round than any other candidate”
“For some reason in Iowa, they’re having a little bit of trouble counting votes,” he added, predicting he’ll win in New Hampshire.
It’s unclear when we’ll hear the results from the remaining precincts. One key area to watch is Polk county, which includes populous Des Moines and its suburbs, where nearly half the precincts have not been counted.
Once all the precincts have reported results, the ordering of the leading candidates could change. Because Iowa’s 41 pledged delegates are distributed proportionally, as it is Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders would be allocated the same number.
According to the AP, which as assigned 24 of the 41 pledged delegates based on the results reported so far, 10 would go to Buttigieg, 10 to Sanders and 4 to Elizabeth Warren.
Elizabeth Warren says she’s ‘so proud’ of her performance in Iowa.
In a fundraising email to supporters, Joe Biden’s campaign brushed off his poor showing in Iowa.
“We fought hard in Iowa. Now, we’re well-positioned to make our case to the rest of the country,” the email reads. “But there’s no time to rest. We need to be prepared to take this campaign to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and beyond. And meanwhile, Trump is attacking me non-stop.”
Biden ranked fourth among his competitors, with 62% of precincts responding.
Stacey Abrams, who launched a nationwide voting rights campaign last year after narrowly losing a campaign for Georgia governor, has said issues with reporting results in Iowa are just one of the problems plaguing the state’s primary elections.
As the Guardian’s Sam Levine reported the caucus system in Iowa excludes many voters:
The physical and legal barriers built into the structure of the caucuses leave out large swaths of the population, whether they are disabled, work long hours, or were once convicted of a crime...
Since 2016, advocates have been pushing the Iowa Democratic party to address obstacles like transportation, navigating crowded spaces and seating that people with disabilities face to caucusing. The party has introduced some solutions – like allowing some groups to hold satellite caucuses in their homes or accessible locales.
“We’ve made it easier for Iowans to request accommodations, get in the room faster, and caucus at a site that’s more convenient to them,” said Mandy McClure, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic party, in a statement. “Expanding participation has been at the heart of all of these changes.”
But many advocates say the party’s approach has been abysmal, noting that a staffer handling disability outreach wasn’t hired until January.
The chaos in Iowa has been blamed, at least in part on a smartphone app introduced just weeks before the election to report results. The Guardian’s Kari Paul reports:
A “coding issue” caused only partial data to be reported out by the 1,700 caucus sites throughout Iowa. What’s more, many caucuses take place in rural areas of Iowa where cellphone coverage is less reliable, compounding issues, said Dough Schmidt, a professor of computer science at Vanderbilt.
“These things were clearly not taken to account when building the app and the app was clearly not tested in more chaotic environments,” he said. “This should serve as a cautionary warning that there are some reasons we have done elections on paper for hundreds of years.”
Bernie Sanders’ adviser Jeff Weaver has indicated he’s ‘gratified’ with initial results:
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Pete Buttigieg says the campaign’s website is getting record traffic.
Iowans react to delays: ‘I think it’s a shame’
Some Iowans expressed frustration on Tuesday that the state Democratic party had bungled its moment in the national spotlight after the party delayed releasing the results of the caucuses because of a technical glitch.
“I think it’s a shame. Everybody’s got their eye on Iowa to be first and then they got everything all screwed up,” said Joe Pendergrass, 52, as he waited for the bus in the East Village neighborhood of Des Moines. Pendergrass likened the episode to the 2000 Florida election debacle and said it might be a similar case where no one would ever be certain who had won.
As the country waited for the Iowa Democratic party to release partial caucus results on Tuesday, Des Moines was cold and quiet. Many of the candidates left in the early hours Tuesday morning to go directly to New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on 11 February. Reporters left for the airport to leave Des Moines, which has been jam-packed the last few days. In RAYGUN, a store that sells tongue-in-cheek goods, some people were stocking up on last-minute souvenirs of their time here.
Taking a cigarette break downtown, Scott Day, 28, said he was surprised the party had botched the results.
“I think it was actually pretty dumb. They’ve done it for so many years and accurately gotten a result after that,” he said.
Eating lunch at a food court, another woman, who declined to give her name, said she wasn’t surprised the new technology Democrats were using had caused a snafu. The entire episode, she said, was “kind of funny”.
“If I was a Democrat it would probably bother me,” she added.
“They’re not complete, but results are in from a majority of precincts, and they show our campaign in first place,” said Pete Buttigieg, grinning widely as he addressed supporters in New Hampshire. “This is what we have been working more than a year to convince our fellow Americans: that a new and better vision can bring about a new and better day.
Buttigieg currently hold a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders. Depending on how close the final results are, the Indiana mayor may end up with just one or two more of Iowa’s 41 delegates than his closest competitors.
While it could still all change, Pete Buttigieg’s early lead in the Iowa caucuses – and Joe Biden’s position in fourth – has come as a surprise to many.
Writing on Twitter, the polling expert Dave Wasserman thinks that the result isn’t quite as bad for Biden as it looks.
Meanwhile, the potentially historic nature of Buttigieg’s lead hasn’t been lost on some:
The irony of Buttigieg’s electoral lead despite being behind in the popular vote has also been highlighted by the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel:
And the New Republic’s Kate Aronoff is finding the result difficult to process entirely
Again, these initial results could change once all the totals are tallied up. And ultimately, Iowa awards a total of 41 delegates – representing only 1% of the national total.
Read the Guardian’s full report on the caucus chaos:
Although Pete Buttigieg leads the caucus results, Bernie Sanders is leading the popular vote count, at 28,220 over Buttigieg’s 27,030.
Elizabeth Warren collected 22,254 votes and Joe Biden has 14,176, with 62% of precincts reporting.
In terms of percentages, here’s how the popular vote counts break down:
The popular vote represents the raw data not converted into state delegate equivalents.
Buttigieg on top, after the Iowa Democratic party announces partial results
Pete Buttigieg is on top, with a narrow lead over his 2020 competitors, according to the state Democrats, who have released partial results after an extended delay. These results represent 62% of precincts.
Here’s a breakdown:
Pete Buttigieg: 26.9% of the state delegates
Bernie Sanders: 25.1%
Elizabeth Warren: 18.3%
Joe Biden: 15.6%
Amy Klobuchar: 12.6%
The results could change after results from the remaining precincts are announced.
“A thorough, transparent and independent examination of what happened yesterday will follow,” said the Iowa Democratic chair, Troy Price, after apologizing for the extended delay.
In a few minutes, the party will reveal the results from 62% of precincts reporting in the Iowa caucuses.
“We have been working day and night to make sure that these results are accurate,” Price said. Although there have been delays due to “a coding error” in the app the state used to report results, he said “the raw data is secure”.
Price did not respond to repeated questions from the press about when the party will be able to report 100% of the results.
State Democrats are expected to announce partial results from Iowa in about 10 minutes. Shadow Inc. the company behind the app that has been blamed for the extended delay in reporting results, has apologized.
As 2020 Democrats looking to replace Donald Trump anxiously await the first results out of Iowa, back at the capitol, senators are continuing to weigh whether to remove the president from office.
Moments ago, Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine, said she intends to acquit Trump, cutting down Democrats’ wish for a bipartisan impeachment.
“I do not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the president’s conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office, nor does the record support the assertion by the House managers that the president must not remain in office one moment longer,” Collins said, speaking on the Senate floor.
Echoing other moderate Republican senators, Collins said “it was wrong for [Trump] to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival” but she believes the president’s actions didn’t rise to the threshold of impeachment.
Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican of Utah, is the last remaining hope for Democrats pushing for a bipartisan impeachment.
- At some point soon, Iowa’s Democratic Party is supposed to release a “majority” of the caucus results.
- Bernie Sanders campaign released numbers, at 60% reporting, showing he had a “comfortable lead.” Elizabeth Warren’s campaign said they planned to release their own numbers as well.
- Meanwhile, before a final vote scheduled for Wednesday afternoon on whether to convict Donald Trump, senators began a round of speeches on how they think the third presidential impeachment trial in US history should end.
- One thing we know about Iowa is that the turnout is on pace with 2016 – which is a concerning indicator for Democrats hoping opposition to Trump would bring out voters in force.
My colleague Maanvi Singh will be taking over the blog, and will be updating you shortly on the initial results from Iowa.
Billionaire Mike Bloomberg authorized his presidential campaign to double the amount they are spending on television, according to multiple reports citing anonymous aides to the former New York City mayor.
CNN said Bloomberg has already spent more than $300 million on advertising, according to data compiled by Kantar Media/CMAG. An aide told CNN that the campaign will “immediately increase ad spending in our current markets as well as add new markets, with our total gross ratings points doubling, from 1,200 to 2,400.”
These reports emerged as chaos reigns in the rest of the Democratic field, where candidates are waiting to hear who won the Iowa caucus and refocusing their campaigns in New Hampshire.
Bloomberg is bypassing both those places to focus on states with more delegates available, specifically those that hold their primaries on March 3 aka Super Tuesday.
Joe Biden was heckled at campaign event in New Hampshire today by protestors.
After they quieted down, Biden said he and his campaign felt they did well at the Iowa caucuses, the results of which haven’t been announced. “We think we’re going to come out of there really doing well, but be careful what you say, because it’s not done yet,” Biden said.
In New Hampshire, Biden also criticized his 2020 rival Bernie Sanders over Medicare for All, saying the Vermont senator has talked about single-payer health care for “30 years now.”
“Hasn’t moved it an inch,” Biden said.
“It’s not going anywhere now,” Biden said of Medicare for All. “The speaker of the House isn’t for it. Most Democrats in Congress are not for it. So how’s it going to pass? How’s it going to move? How does it get done? You can’t give a speech about it. It actually has to get done.”
Two other Democratic representatives have joined the SOTU boycott.
Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, issued a statement explaining her decision:
The occupant of the White House incessantly stokes fear in people of color, women, healthcare providers, LGBTQ+ communities, low-income families, and many more. He does not embody the principles, the responsibility, the grace, nor the integrity that is required of the President of the United States.
The State of the Union is hurting because of the occupant of the White House, who consistently demonstrates contempt for the American people, contempt for Congress, and contempt for our constitution - strong-arming a sham impeachment trial in the Senate. This presidency is not legitimate.
On the eve of Senate Republicans covering up transgressions and spreading misinformation, I cannot in good conscience attend a sham State of the Union when I have seen firsthand the damage Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric and policies have inflicted on those I love and those I represent.
And representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, said she won’t be attending because she doesn’t want to normalize Donald Trump’s presidency.
The White House released its list of his 11 guests for tonight’s State of the Union address. The guests include the wife and son of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Hake, who was killed while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq; Paul Morrow, a US Army veteran who is opening a new concrete plant in Alabama; and Ivan Simonovis, a former police chief in Caracas, Venezuela.
Other guests, which often reflect the issues the president will touch on, include a top Border patrol agent and a mother and her baby who was born at 21 weeks and six days.
We also know some Congresspeople intentionally won’t be there. At least five Democratic representatives are boycotting the speech: Al Green, of Texas; Steve Cohen, of Tennessee; Earl Blumenauer, of Oregon; Hank Johnson, of Georgia; and Frederica Wilson, of Florida.
One thing we know about Iowa is that the turnout numbers are on pace with 2016 – which is a concerning indicator for Democrats hoping opposition to Trump would bring out voters in force.
CNN senior writer and analyst, Harry Enten, dug deep into the history of Iowa caucus turnout and how it reflects general election trends:
Some of the lower Democratic turnout in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses could be because caucusgoers were overwhelmed by the large number of candidates (though there were plenty in 2008). Some of it could be that Iowa is becoming more Republican. Additionally, impeachment has caused the primary season to not dominate the headlines as it has in past years.
But we can look to other indicators to suggest enthusiasm is down for Democrats.
Look at the special elections compared to the Democratic baseline, for example. State legislative and congressional special election performance has correlated well with general election success over the last few decades. Oftentimes, that success is tied to advantages in turnout.
With all the attention on Iowa and New Hampshire, it is easy to forget that in Washington DC, senators are still talking impeachment.
National affairs correspondent, Tom McCarthy, has kept a watchful eye on the hearings and reports:
One Republican who had been closely watched as a possible swing vote, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, ultimately voted with her caucus on the witnesses question. She said on Monday evening she would do so again on Wednesday.
In a speech on a virtually empty Senate floor, Murkowski called Donald Trump’s conduct “shameful and wrong” but saved her hottest fire for Congress itself.
“The House failed in its responsibilities and the Senate – the Senate should be ashamed by the rank partisanship that has been on display here,” Murkowski said. “So many in this chamber share my sadness for the present state of our institutions. It’s my hope that we’ve finally found bottom here.”
Candidates move on to New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign has released its own Iowa caucus results, which show the Vermont senator with “a comfortable lead” with 60% of the vote in.
The campaign said their results reflect data sent to it by “precinct captains around the state.”
The Sanders campaign results, which, again, they say reflect 60% of the votes, show:
A representative for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign said it is also collecting caucus data on its own and plans to release the findings today.
- We still don’t know the results of the Iowa caucus. While we wait, the candidates are moving on to New Hampshire, where the primary takes place next week.
- The chair of the Iowa Democratic party (IDP), Troy Price, said the “majority” of the caucus results would be released by 4pm CT/5pm ET.
- Price said of calculating the caucus results: “While our plan is to release the results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld.”
- Donald Trump’s approval rating is the highest it’s been in three years, per Gallup. The Jan 16 to 29 poll found Trump has a 49% approval rating.
The Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) just held a conference call for the presidential campaigns to update them on the delayed Iowa caucus results.
It was heated.
Meanwhile, Nevada’s Democratic party has clarified it will not use the same app that caused problems in Iowa for its caucuses later this month.
“NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada on February 22nd,” the party said in a statement. “We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus.”
"Majority" of Iowa results to be released before 5pm ET
Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) leader, Troy Price, has informed the presidential campaigns that the majority of the Iowa caucus results will be in by 4pm CT/5pm ET.
Some are suggesting US journalists should emulate their British counterparts after reports that CNN anchors are being barred from an annual presidential lunch before tonight’s State of the Union.
It is traditional for presidents to invite anchors from the major television networks to an off-the-record lunch before the address to better understand where the president is at before his speech.
But CNN’s anchors are reportedly being blocked from the lunch.
This has drawn comparisons to UK political journalists boycotting a briefing yesterday at Downing Street, the offices of prime minister Boris Johnson. After Johnson’s senior communications adviser tried to exclude reporters from the official briefing, the reporters who were still allowed in refused to attend in solidarity with their counterparts.
“Iowa is supposed to be the place lots of candidates go to die,” Democratic strategist Jim Messina told the Guardian. “Now, it seems like almost everyone is getting a ticket to ride to New Hampshire. Folks like [Andrew] Yang, [Tom] Steyer and maybe [Amy] Klobuchar all should have and would have had to get out today. Now they all can soldier on.”
Guardian senior political reporter, Daniel Strauss, has the latest on the chaos in Iowa.
Notably, early entrance polling in Iowa suggested a dip in participation among first-time voters, a troubling sign for Democrats who expected record turnout fueled by a hunger to oust Donald Trump.
On Tuesday morning, veteran strategists were still fretting over the Iowa chaos.
“Iowa is making my home state of Florida look like a model of vote-counting efficiency,” said Steve Schale, executive director of the pro-Biden Unite the Country Super Pac. “This is a complete and total ‘shibacle’. It’s hard to have a lot of confidence right now in any result.
Democratic hopeful Mike Bloomberg continues to troll Donald Trump. Today, Bloomberg released a new campaign ad tied to tonight’s State of the Union address.
As unflattering images of Trump appear on screen, a dramatic voice reads:
The real state of the union: a nation divided by an angry, out of control president. A White House beset by lies, chaos and corruption. An administration that has failed the American people. It doesn’t have to be this way. Next year we can have a leader who brings people together, solves problems and gets results. Mike Bloomberg will get it done.
After all those months of campaigning, supporters and volunteers – some of whom gave up jobs and traveled across the country to back their candidate – are not happy today.
“It’s embarrassing, quite honestly,” said Musa Jamshed, a precinct captain for Andrew Yang in Iowa City. Jamshed, 23, quit his tech job in San Francisco to campaign in Iowa. Yang had been polling in sixth place in the state, but was backed by thousands of enthusiastic supporters – the “Yang Gang”– who were hoping to defy expectations.
“After all the blood, sweat and tears, I just want to know how much we over performed by,” Jamshed said.
Yang, a tech entrepreneur, has been critical of the government for failing to make best use of technological advances. “It might be helpful to have a President and government that understand technology so this sort of thing doesn’t happen,” Yang tweeted on Monday night.
“[The ongoing Iowa debacle] does not reassure the Yang Gang, whose primary concern is that the government is decades behind on technology,” Jamshed said. “It is also disturbing from the perspective of having a fair democratic process.”
As the words disaster, chaos and fakakta blare across social media to describe the Iowa caucus, so has a reminder that it’s not the first time those words have been linked to the first-in-the-nation caucus.
Mitt Romney was declared the winner for the Republicans in the 2012 Iowa caucus, but two weeks later, the state’s Republican party said a recount of the votes showed the winner was actually Rick Santorum.
The incident was followed by a chaotic caucus in Nevada the next month, when Romney was declared the winner before votes for the state’s most populous county had been tallied. Together, the incidents prompted a headline in Politico: “Caucus system under fire.”
In 2016, there were frustrations and disappointment about how Democrats in Iowa declared Hillary Clinton the victor, despite a messy, complicated process in a tight race with Bernie Sanders.
More bad news for Democrats.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is the highest it’s been in three years, per Gallup.
The Jan 16 to 29 poll found Trump has a 49% approval rating. The bulk of this is from the 94% of Republicans who approve of his work. He also got a boost from a 42% approval rating among independents, an increase of five points. Democratic approval shrunk from 10% to 7%.
Trump also has the highest approval for his handling of the economy (63%) of any president since George W Bush had high approval ratings in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Gallup’s short analysis of its findings:
Whether the rise in Trump’s approval rating and the Republican Party’s image is being driven by a backlash against impeachment, the strong economy or other factors may become clearer in the near future. If it is mostly impeachment-based, his approval rating may revert quickly back to pre-impeachment levels, as it did for Clinton. Within two months of his acquittal in February 1999, Clinton’s approval rating returned to where it was before he was impeached, as did the Democratic Party’s advantage in party identification and leaning.
If Trump’s higher approval rating is being driven by Americans giving him credit for improvements in the economy, his support may increase over the course of the year, as it did for Ronald Reagan in 1984, Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2012. All of those recent presidents held office during periods of sustained economic improvement and were re-elected with job approval ratings of better than 50%.
Iowa Dems say plan is to release results 'as soon as possible'
The chair of the Iowa Democratic party (IDP), Troy Price, just released a statement outlining how the caucus process collapsed last night.
“We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion,” Price said. “In preparation for the caucuses, our systems were tested by independent cybersecurity consultants.”
Price said as results came in, the IDP’s accuracy check showed inconsistencies with reports. “The underlying cause of these inconsistencies was not immediately clear, and required investigation, which took time,” Price said.
He said the IDP then used existing back-up measures and entered the data manually.
As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound. While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. The issue was identified and fixed. The application’s reporting issue did not impact the ability of precinct chairs to report data accurately.
Because of the required paper documentation, we have been able to verify that the data recorded in the app and used to calculate State Delegate Equivalents is valid and accurate. Precinct level results are still being reported to the IDP. While our plan is to release the results as soon as possible today, our ultimate goal is to ensure that the integrity and accuracy of the process continues to be upheld.
The New York Times has been talking to “precinct chairs” - the local volunteers who were meant to send in the results from their area of Iowa last night.
They list a catalogue of errors with the app recording and transmitting the results, leading them to try to use the overloaded telephone helpline.
Others simply decided not to use the app, according to the NYT.
“I have 75-year-old caucus chairs who are sitting here going, ‘I’m just going to call that in,’” said Sarah Truitt, co-chair of the Clarke County Democrats. “This was too many new things to learn for a lot of people. Not everybody that goes to the caucus is a 20-year-old college kid.”
Trump is clearly keeping a keen eye on proceedings, retweeting posts from stats guru Nate Silver, Fox News journalist Bret Baier, and the Daily Mail US. And a suggestion from NBC News’ Steve Kornacki that this mess could help put an end to Iowa’s position as the first state to vote in the primaries prompted this response from the president:
Iowa shambles Q&A
For those just waking up, here’s a quick Q&A.
What just happened?
The first state to vote for a Democratic candidate was Iowa, on Monday, and the party still hasn’t been able to announce the results.
Yikes. Why not?
Iowa uses a complicated and arcane system called a caucus. Basically voters gather in school halls, churches, libraries and other places and divide up into groups to show their support for each candidate. There are two rounds of voting and then the proportion of votes is converted into a number of delegates. The number of delegates nationwide eventually decides who will be the candidate.
The results should have been known overnight when local party chiefs sent their results back to the Iowa party.
But this year a couple of changes had been made to the system which meant it basically collapsed.
For the first time, the two rounds of voting were set to be announced as well as the final delegate count.
And to help with this the party gave their local representatives a mobile app to use to report their results. Too many of them seem to have had trouble using the app, so some switched to the phone line, which became overwhelmed. This meant results could not be tallied up by the party in time.
Why is Iowa so important?
Iowa has gone first in the Democratic race for nearly 50 years, and the winner gets an enviable media spotlight and much-needed momentum. Since 2000 every Democrat who has won Iowa went on to win the nomination. But the system is also criticised for giving disproportionate power to a tiny state that is 90% white and largely rural and is unrepresentative of the Democratic party as a whole. This shambles won’t have helped its case.
Do the Republicans have caucuses?
They do and Donald Trump won with 97.1% of the vote. The Republican race this year is expected to be a complete walkover for Trump - as it nearly always is for an incumbent president.
How did the candidates react?
The candidates knew that TV channels that had planned hours of election coverage had dead air to fill, and that they had a chance to set the narrative. Sanders, Buttigieg and Warren all made very confident addresses that sounded like victory speeches, although it’s interesting that Joe Biden’s speech sounded much less positive. He sounded more like he was trying to buck his supporters up and move on to the next race.
Why is this mess so damaging?
The winner would have preferred to have made their big speech in the full glare of the media spotlight. Now the news agenda moves on to Trump’s state of the union speech tonight and the New Hampshire primary next week.
My colleague Julia Carrie-Wong makes a strong case that this is all a storm in a teacup:
In the absence of actual results, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign is continuing to try to set the narrative.
It released a memo detailing its precinct-level data from Iowa, which according to the Washington Post shows Buttigieg having won 25% support on the second count, “numbers the campaign believes mean Buttigieg won the night”.
Whether or not those figures are borne out by the final results remains to be seen.
Donald Trump has given his verdict on the Iowa controversy, which he calls an “unmitigated disaster”.
(HealthCare.gov is the federal government’s health insurance exchange website, introduced as part of Barack Obama’s health reforms which brought millions of people into the health-insurance system. A study in 2014 found it had cost more than $2bn to set up, which is a lot, although it’s not $5bn.)
Who are the winners and losers from the Iowa shambles?
The shambles in Iowa means we’re all talking about voting chaos instead of the winning candidate. So - with the proviso that this may all change once we have some actual results - who can we say are the initial winners and losers from this mess?
The leftwing senator has been threatening to overtake Joe Biden as the frontrunner in the Democratic race, and victory in Iowa – which had seemed increasingly likely recently – would have given that process crucial momentum, allowing him to firmly take the national spotlight in the first race of the year. Instead, even if he does end up being certified as the winner (and he may still), he’ll have missed his big moment as the news agenda rushes on to Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and next week’s primaries in New Hampshire. Many of his more suspicious supporters – who accused the Democratic party of rigging the race against him in 2016 – may see this as no accident.
Of the big four in the Iowa race, the former vice-president gave the most downbeat speech, suggesting his campaign knows he under-performed in Iowa. If that is confirmed by the final results, and if Sanders wins big in New Hampshire next week, Biden could find supporters and donors losing confidence in him well before what are likely to be strong performances in South Carolina on 29 February and on Super Tuesday on 3 March. His candidacy is based on the idea that he is the most electable candidate – if that suddenly seems in doubt, he could be seriously hobbled.
The small-town centrist mayor from nearby Indiana has always hung his hopes on a strong showing in Iowa and his speech last night – “by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious” – and bullish predictions of a win suggest he feels confident he has got what he wanted. If Biden does collapse and Sanders maintains his current strength, Buttigieg could make a case that the centrist Democratic establishment should now swing behind him.
The billionaire former mayor of New York will be making exactly that argument himself once he enters the race on Super Tuesday. He will be delighted that the ineffable momentum conferred on the winner of Iowa – a state Bloomberg decided to skip – will this year be blunted. Early voting in California – the largest state in the US, which he has been blanketing with advertising – began yesterday, and Bloomberg will feel vindicated in keeping his focus there. But if the centrist “lane” is now shaping up to be a serious fight between Biden, Bloomberg and Buttigieg, that may split the moderate vote and in the end benefit Sanders.
The president’s Twitter feed has been quiet so far this morning but his campaign manager Brad Parscale was quick to channel his master’s voice with a vivid mixed metaphor: “Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history.” Parscale went on to sow doubts about “the fairness of the process” – encouraging those suspicious Sanders supporters – and ask: “And these are the people who want to run our entire healthcare system?” Of course, no Democratic candidate is suggesting their own party run the US health system, but the Trump campaign has never let the facts get in the way of - well, anything much. Reports of low turnout in the Iowa race - if confirmed - will also be seized upon by Trump, whose strategy depends upon enthusing his base more than the Democrats can excite theirs.
Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar
Both senators gave confident speeches last night, but until the results are in it’s unclear exactly how the chips will fall for them. Klobuchar will need a strong performance to continue to compete against her fellow centrists, but Warren – who arrived in New Hampshire before dawn saying: “This is an organization that is built for the long haul” – probably has more time to fight her liberal rival Sanders even if Iowa turns out to have been disappointing.
Hello on the morning after a shambolic start to the Democratic presidential race.
Apparently due to problems with a new phone app used to report results, the Iowa Democratic party was not able to tally up who won last night’s caucuses - the first election in the long primary process designed to choose a candidate to take on Donald Trump in November.
The local party has promised to release its results on Tuesday, but as the candidates move on to New Hampshire for the next contest on 11 February, and Donald Trump gives his annual State of the Union speech tonight, the significance of the vote in Iowa may end up being blunted.
Some will see that as a good thing. There have long been complaints that allowing Iowa to go first in the primary race gives too much weight to a small, mostly white, largely rural state that does not represent the demographics of the Democratic party or the US.
Perhaps sensing that they needed to seize the moment even if the moment was a bit unclear, leftwing senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and centrist former mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered what sounded like victory speeches, with both Sanders’ and Buttigieg’s campaigns also claiming that their local representatives had seen partial results that showed their candidate ahead.
By contrast Joe Biden - the former vice-president to Barack Obama who is probably still the frontrunner in the national Democratic race, just about - delivered an address that sounded like it was designed to buck up supporters after a disappointing night. “We’re going to walk out of here with our share of delegates,” Biden said. “We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but we feel good about where we are. So it’s on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and well beyond.”
Trump’s campaign revelled in the chaos. “Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager. “It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process. And these are the people who want to run our entire healthcare system?”
So what happened? This was the first year Iowans had to report three tallies in their complex voting system, and a new mobile app was introduced to help them do it. Some local representatives meant to use the app to report the numbers seemed to find it difficult to use, and tried to use a telephone hotline instead, meaning it became too busy. That all seems to have slowed the whole process down and meant accurate overall results cannot yet be tallied.
“This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion,” said Mandy McClure, the Iowa party’s communications director. “The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
By the way, the Republicans also held caucuses in Iowa yesterday. Trump won with 97.1% of the vote.
We’ll have live coverage here today as the Democratic results (hopefully) come through, plus:
• Around 4pm ET: Senators will give speeches on Trump’s impeachment, before they vote tomorrow on whether to convict or acquit him. Acquittal is almost certain.
• 9pm ET: Trump delivers his the State of the Union address in the House of Representatives. His theme is expected to be the “Great American Comeback”.
Until then, you can read up on everything that happened last night here: