Update (1:30 a.m. ET): Controversy has broken out after Pete Buttigieg declared victory in Monday’s Iowa caucus, despite a counting fiasco caused by a new app developed by a company called, literally, Shadow.
Buttigieg campaign official sharing some details of the internal counts they have so far pic.twitter.com/SL1MaGz93F
— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) February 4, 2020
People have noted that the Buttigieg campaign has also contracted with Shadow, leading some to note the poor optics and imply that the Iowa caucus is once again being stolen from Bernie Sanders.
the CEO of the company that owns Shadow lol https://t.co/0eIlvpHY82
— Tim 🕊🌿🐊 (@timtakestime) February 4, 2020
Three different sources say a firm called “Shadow” developed the Iowa Dem caucus app. They haven’t responded to comment, neither has Iowa Dem Party. The firm was paid by both Nevada & Iowa Democratic Party, disclosures show. Also by Mayor Pete’s campaign.
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) February 4, 2020
Pete Buttigieg managed to spike the most important poll which showed him in third the day before the caucus. He seems to have some ties to the company that developed the App that is supposed to count the vote totals. He is now declaring victory before ANY results are reported.
— Nando (@nandorvila) February 4, 2020
Big yikes. https://t.co/3mlXlmXQqC
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) February 4, 2020
ALERT: IOWA DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT CAPTAINS
You have a duty to Democracy.
The results of your fair elections are being meddled with by bad actors.
Please tweet out your REAL caucus results ASAP & show the world what the DNC is trying to hide!
RT if you agree!#IACaucus #DNCRigging
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 4, 2020
The Sanders campaign, meanwhile, released their own internal figures indicating the Vermont Senator is in the lead.
Sanders camp releases top line numbers they say represent their internal results from nearly 40 percent of precincts in Iowa, showing Sanders leading Buttigieg. Senior adviser @AriRabinHavt said this release would reflect as much data as they had so far. pic.twitter.com/XhrK9KlAV5
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) February 4, 2020
* * *
Update (12:40 a.m. ET): While the results of the Iowa Caucus are still in limbo, the Biden campaign’s General Counsel, Dana Remus, fired off a terse letter to Iowa DNC officials with a list of demands after “considerable flaws” in the reporting system have led to ‘acute failures statewide.’
“We believe the campaigns deserve full explanations and relevant information regarding the methods of quality control you are employing, and an opportunity to respond, before any official results are released.“
JUST IN: Biden campaign general counsel Dana Remus sent a letter to top Iowa Democratic Party officials demanding “full explanations and relevant information” for the “failed” systems the IDP deployed for tonight’s caucuses.
Read the letter: pic.twitter.com/w6RtTVkDPt
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) February 4, 2020
The Iowa Democratic Party, meanwhile, said “We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results. In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report. This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.
“… and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report. This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
— David Wright (@DavidWright_7) February 4, 2020
Others weren’t so sure:
They stole Iowa from Bernie Sanders in 2016 and they’re going to try and do it again in 2020. https://t.co/O0pgOF4qRF
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 4, 2020
More on what’s going on:
This guy is talking to Maddow now.
This is such a mess. pic.twitter.com/kvxJkjCXrr
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) February 4, 2020
* * *
Before we start detailing the results of this evening’s Iowa caucuses, we have to get something off our chests…
I truly cannot believe, in the year 2020, part of the democratic process in the United States involves clustering people in corners and having them raise their hands while someone counts them.
— Anthony Romano (@ARomanoWDBJ) February 4, 2020
Ok, with that said, heading into the caucus, Bernie was soaring in the bookies odds with Biden, Betty, and Buttigieg crashing…
And while Tom Steyer spent more money on ads in Iowa than any other candidate, isn’t even registering a blip…
As a reminder, a candidate wins the nomination if they can secure a majority of delegates – 2,376 or more. That includes a combined total of pledged delegates – those awarded based on election results – and unpledged superdelegates – party leaders who can vote for the candidate of their choosing.
As Bloomberg notes, Superdelegates, also known as “unpledged” or “automatic” delegates, are Democratic delegates who get a ticket to the convention based on their role in the party – 445 national committee members, 280 members of Congress, 24 governors and 22 other party leaders like former presidents and national chairmen. Their role has been controversial because they can vote their own conscience and could conceivably overturn the will of rank-and-file delegates in a contested convention. New rules this year ensure that won’t be the case – but only on the first ballot.
Here’s how it works:
If one candidate has enough delegates to win the convention outright—at least 2,376 delegates—superdelegates can vote because they won’t make a difference.
If one candidate has a majority of pledged delegates—at least 1,991—only those pledged delegates can vote on the first ballot and that candidate becomes the nominee.
If no candidate has a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot—less than 1,991—the convention moves to a second ballot in which superdelegates can vote.
Got that? Clear as mud right?
The Iowa rules are even more complex, but simply put, Iowa has 41 ‘pledged’ delegates and 8 ‘super-delegates’.
* * *
The results are notably delayed
Iowa’s State Democratic Party, seemingly terrified of blowback if something untoward occurs (note that they canceled the Des Moines poll due to irregularities), initially said it is doing “quality control” on results “out of an abundance of caution.”
Then they slowly started to admit there were real issues with a brand new app that had been created especially to ease transmission and transparency of the results.
One precinct chair in Polk County told Bloomberg News he still has not been able to report his results because the phone app was not working and he has been on hold with an alternative hotline for more than 30 minutes.
“We are experiencing some issues in terms of people being able to load and connect with the app for their precinct reporting,” said Bret Nilles, chairman of the Linn County Democratic Party.
ABC’s Rick Klein noted:
“What we can say confidently is there are massive technical issues that are delaying the vote count right now in Iowa and it is 100% better for this to be right rather than to be fast.”
State party Communications Director Mandy McClure said in a statement.
“The integrity of the results is paramount. We have experienced a delay in the results due to quality checks and the fact that the IDP is reporting out three data sets for the first time. What we know right now is that around 25% of precincts have reported, and early data indicates turnout is on pace for 2016.”
“A lot of us are going to be doing it on paper and calling it in,” said Kelcey Brackett, the chairman of the Muscatine County Democratic Party.
CNN just interviewed Shawn Sebastian, secretary from the Story Country Precinct 1-1, who said:
“I am the caucus secretary for Story County Precinct 1-1. I’ve been on hold for over an hour to report the results. We have 6 delegates”
One guest on Fox News has already raise the question “…it makes one wonder if the app was hacked… and by whom?”.
Was there some meddling? Did Rachel Maddow blame the Russians yet?
The state party has said it has no cybersecurity concerns over the app’s use.
As one wit noted”
“…and these are the people who want to run our healthcare system?”
* * *
Congrats to Cory Booker, who is no longer running for president, but appears to have actually won a state delegate equivalent, thanks to strategic voting from non-viable candidates.
Here a twist at Drake U: @CoryBooker, who has dropped out of the race, has won one of six delegates awarded at precinct 38.
Supporters of non-viable candidates (Yang, Biden, and Klobuchar) banded together to deny Sanders, Warren, or Buttigieg that extra delegate.
— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) February 4, 2020
Oh and at least one vote was decide by coin toss…
Buttigieg and Warren tie. Coin toss about to happen pic.twitter.com/fJVqDDN5pS
— John Pemble (@johnpemble) February 4, 2020
Finally, in an attempt at foreseeing the spin-fest that is bound to erupt after these results, we note that a lot has been said about Iowa and New Hampshire’s lack of racial diversity. Make no mistake, their status will be questioned, especially if the IA/NH Democratic winner(s) don’t win the nomination or the White House.
Oh, and one more thing, Trump won 97% of the vote in Republican caucuses.
8 days until New Hampshire…