Political News

Buttigieg maintains narrow lead over Sanders in Iowa after recanvass

Posted February 18, 2020 8:33 p.m. EST

— The recanvass of more than 100 Iowa caucus precincts has ended, the state's Democratic Party said on Tuesday, resulting in former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tightening to a fraction of a standard delegate equivalent.

Buttigieg now leads Sanders in Iowa by less than a hundredth of a percentage point -- 26.188% for Buttigieg and 26.184% for Sanders. Sanders continues to lead the final round of the popular vote count, with 45,831 votes to Buttigieg's 43,273.

The tightening does not, however, impact the national delegate count, which awarded Buttigieg 14 national delegates out of Iowa, compared to Sanders' 12 delegates, according to the state party.

The Iowa Democratic Party had to correct the counts for 26 precincts where "misapplication of the rules affected delegate allocation" and three precincts where "the reported final alignment did not match what was on the math worksheet," according to the state party. The party also announced that representative from Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren's campaign were on site during the recanvass.

With the recanvass complete, the campaigns have 24 hours to respond to those results with evidence that the outcome of the national delegate allocation could be impacted, according to state party rules.

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Sanders' campaign responded to the new results by saying they will formally request a recount of several precincts. A Buttigieg spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recanvass being completed.

The Iowa caucuses descended into chaos earlier this month, leaving the results of the caucus still in question weeks after Iowans gathered to express their presidential preference. A faulty app that was supposed to streamline the caucus process, an overwhelmed call-center meant to act as a backup to the app and poor communication between the party and the campaigns marred the caucus process and left Democrats with no results the night of voting.

The bedlam has led some Democrats to call for an end to the Iowa caucuses and Troy Price, the party chairman in the run up to caucus night, has resigned because of the flawed process.

After 100% of precincts were reported by the Iowa Democratic Party earlier this month, the Buttigieg, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren campaigns submitted evidence of what they saw as inconsistencies in counting. The complaints stemmed from 95 precincts -- 5% of the total 1,765 precincts in the state.

The Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns subsequently requested partial recounts on certain precincts.

Sanders' campaign asked for a recanvass of 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses in the state, arguing that if "errors" are corrected, the Vermont senator would pick up one national delegate.

Buttigieg's campaign, meanwhile, asked for a recanvass of 66 precincts and all satellite caucuses in the state, a total of 143 precincts.

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