Buttigieg leads Iowa caucuses with 62 percent of the results counted

DES MOINES, Iowa — Pete Buttigieg is leading the Iowa caucuses with 62 percent of 99 counties reporting, the Iowa Democratic Party said at a briefing Tuesday afternoon, nearly an entire day after a smartphone app malfunction delayed the reporting of results.

Buttigieg earned 26.9 percent of the votes counted, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders with 25.1 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has so far earned 18.3 percent and former Vice President Joe Biden is in fourth place with 15.6 percent.

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price called the delay “unacceptable,” and explained that the party had taken steps to “insure the accuracy” of the results.

Price blamed a “coding error” with the smartphone app adopted this year for the delay in the results, but did not answer questions about when 100 percent of the results would be completed.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg stands with his husband Chasten as he addresses supporters at his rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., February 3, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg stands with his husband Chasten as he addresses supporters at his rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., February 3, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

During a call with campaign staff earlier in the day, the IDP was unable to commit to a timeline for the rest of the result rollout. Frustrations were high as unnamed staffers questioned how it would be advantageous to release the results piecemeal, as some campaigns might run away with the data and market it as representative for the whole state. Price continuously reminded frantic staffers that data would be released in stages in any other regular caucuses.

Though that explanation has not been enough to quell anxiety that an app developed for reporting results caused tabulation errors. Confusion around the app’s funding and function coupled with projected unenthusiastic turnout has rendered the Iowa caucuses a mess for many campaigns who are scrambling to move their candidate onto New Hampshire. 

On Tuesday state party staffers knocked on doors of rural precinct managers to collect their totals manually, a signal that the first wash of data may be coming from more suburban and urban parts of the state—potentially skewing where delegates might land in the long run.

Without formal results to go on Monday night, candidates were left to spin the results in a positive light. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., exclaimed that her campaign “punched above their weight,” while former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg all but declared victory in the state. 

“Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious,” Buttigieg told his supporters late Monday. 

The Sanders campaign said their internal data showed the senator from Vermont he was leading in state, with Buttigieg in second, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in third, and Biden in fourth. Though those tabulations were unverified by the state.

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