Just when the Iowa caucus disaster could not get any more disastrous, the Associated Press has now announced it is unable to declare a winner from Monday night.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press is unable to declare a winner in Iowa’s 2020 Democratic caucuses
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) February 6, 2020
“With 97% of precincts reporting from Monday’s caucuses, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by three state delegate equivalents out of 2,098 counted,” reported the AP on Thursday. “That is a margin of 0.14 percentage points.”
“Further, the party has yet to report results from some satellite caucus sites, from which there are still an unknown number of state delegate equivalents to be won,” the report later added. “The AP will continue to report and review the results from the Iowa Democratic Party as it completes its tabulation, as well as the results of any potential recanvass or recount.”
Sally Buzbee, AP’s senior vice president and executive editor, said that there can be no clear indication of a winner as Sanders and Buttigieg stand so neck-in-neck.
“The Associated Press calls a race when there is a clear indication of a winner. Because of a tight margin between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders and the irregularities in this year’s caucus process, it is not possible to determine a winner at this point,” said Buzbee.
The Associated Press made its determination following Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez asking the Iowa Democratic Party to recanvas the state, which simply means a review of “the worksheets used by each caucus site” to determine if the votes were counted correctly, according to The Hill. A recanvas is not a recount.
“Enough is enough,” Perez said. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
Though Tom Perez has demanded a recanvas, that does not necessarily mean the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) will comply. In a statement responding to Perez, the IDP stated that a recanvas would only be conducted if a candidate requested it.
“An analysis of the results that have been released so far shows a number of errors and inconsistencies, some of which appear to contradict the Iowa Democratic Party’s caucus rules,” reports The Hill. “One example in Indianola’s second precinct in Warren County, first identified by The New York Times, shows Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) picking up support on the final caucus alignment even though neither was recorded as viable in the first alignment — an apparent violation of caucus rules.”
“In the same precinct, two other candidates, Tom Steyer and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, lost votes in the final alignment, even though both were apparently viable in the first alignment,” it continued.
Despite the Associated Press not declaring a victor in the Iowa caucus, Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a press conference on Thursday that he achieved a “decisive victory” while citing the party’s total “screw up” of the process.
“We are holding a press conference that should have occurred three nights ago in Des Moines, but for the inability of the Iowa Democratic Party to count votes in a timely fashion,” Sanders told reporters. “That screw-up has been extremely unfair to the people of Iowa, it has been unfair to all of the candidates and all of their supporters. So what I want to do, three days late, is thank the people of Iowa for the very strong victory they gave us Monday night.”