Someone won Monday night’s Iowa caucuses — we just don’t know who, yet.
The Iowa caucuses have been the first nominating contest in the nation since 1972 with 41 national delegates up for grabs.
Voters caucused either at one of 1,678 precinct caucuses across the state or at one of the new 87 “satellite” caucuses, including three international locations. The satellite caucus was added this year to help “increase the caucuses’ accessibility” and allow “more Iowans to participate in the process,” the Iowa Democratic Party said in a memo provided to the media.
The biggest story of the night, however, was a major delay in the reporting of caucus results. A new app was developed this year for reporting results but some precinct chairs apparently ditched the app after users struggled to log in. Some campaigns said they were told the app had crashed. Others claimed it was a conspiracy against Sen. Bernie Sanders. One caucus organizer was hung up on while trying to report results over the phone.
“The integrity of the results is paramount,” the Iowa Democratic Party said in a statement around 10 p.m. CT. “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.”
According to CNN, 70 percent of precincts were reporting by 9 p.m. CT during the 2016 caucuses.
Brad Parscale, President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, criticized the Democratic Party for its organizational failure.
“Democrat party meltdown. They can’t even run a caucus and they want to run the government. No thank you,” he said on Twitter.
Democrat party meltdown.
They can’t even run a caucus and they want to run the government. 😳
No thank you.
— Brad Parscale – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@parscale) February 4, 2020
“Trump is laughing his ass off,” wrote Meghan McCain, a frequent critic of the president.
Trump is laughing his ass off. #IowaCaucuses
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) February 4, 2020
Larry Sabato, president of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said it’s time to “get rid of the Iowa caucuses.”
“That’s the message tonight. It’s a mess in more ways than one. If this were a primary, we’d have a larger turnout and the damn results would be known by now,” he said.
Get rid of the #IowaCaucuses! That's the message tonight. It's a mess in more ways than one. If this were a primary, we'd have a larger turnout AND the damn results would be known by now.
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) February 4, 2020
National Review’s Rich Lowry said that “after years of obsession with the Russians, the Democrats somehow managed to hack their own election.”
After years of obsession with the Russians, the Democrats somehow managed to hack their own election
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) February 4, 2020
“Iowa Blows It,” The Drudge Report eventually declared after it was 12 a.m. ET and no results had come in. The reactions were endless and universally negative.
Several candidates delivered premature victory speeches in order to catch their east coast fans before they went to bed.
“We are punching above our weight,” Klobuchar claimed. “Somehow, some way I have to get on a plane tonight to New Hampshire.”
Her campaign manager claimed that the “numbers we’ve seen internally and publicly” showed that Klobuchar was “running even or ahead of Vice President Biden.”
Amy Klobuchar spoke to supporters at her caucus night party Monday night in Des Moines. pic.twitter.com/15MXwnAnDq
— Glen Stubbe (@gspphoto) February 4, 2020
Despite the lack of results, Mayor Pete Buttigieg declared on Twitter that “Iowa chose a new path.”
Tonight, Iowa chose a new path. #IowaCaucuses
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 4, 2020
Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign sent a letter to the Iowa Democratic Party late in the night expressing concerns about “acute failures” and “considerable flaws” in the reporting system. At one point, the party told Buzzfeed News that staffers were “comparing app results with cellphone shots of caucus worksheets.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager said the campaign feels “confident it’s close between Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg” and believes “the vice president is a distant fourth.”
According to Iowa Starting Line, precinct chairs could not get logged into the app and then experienced delays of more than an hour when trying to call in their results on a phone line.
After lots of calls, here's what we've got – issues on separate fronts:
– Some (many?) precinct chairs could not get logged into app
– Delays of hour+ on phone line call-in backup
– Some numbers submitted likely did not match up in caucus math, thus the quality checks
— Iowa Starting Line (@IAStartingLine) February 4, 2020
Trump Sets Incumbent Record
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump easily won the Iowa Republican caucuses with roughly 97 percent of the vote. Republicans experienced record-breaking turnout for an incumbent president with 31,000 caucus-goers, surpassing President Barack Obama’s 2012 record of 25,000.
“What a way to kick off President Trump’s re-election campaign – with decisive, record-breaking caucus results,” said Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “I have no doubt the energy and enthusiasm we saw tonight will carry through this election. After successfully negotiating two massive trade deals, confirming two Supreme Court justices, cutting taxes, and taking decisive action to make the world a safer place, it is no surprise that Iowans want four more years of winning with President Trump.”
The candidates will now turn their attention to New Hampshire with just a week to go before the state’s February 11 primary. Voters can expect to see some of the night’s biggest losers drop out of the race in the coming days.
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