Democratic Chair Calls for Recanvass of Iowa Caucus Results

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called for a recanvass of Iowa caucus results Wednesday, but Iowa’s top Democrat said he would do so if a presidential campaign requested it.

“Enough is enough,” Perez said in a tweet. “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.”

Perez cannot order a recanvass on his own as the Iowa caucus is run by the state party. But Perez’s statement puts pressure on state party Chairman Troy Price to begin a recanvass.

Still, Price rebuffed Perez’s request, saying he would initiate a recanvass if a presidential campaign asked for it.

“Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared,” he said in a statement issued by the party. “In such a circumstance, the IDP will audit the paper records of report, as provided by the precinct chairs and signed by representatives of presidential campaigns. This is the official record of the Iowa Democratic caucus, and we are committed to ensuring the results accurately reflect the preference of Iowans.”

A recanvass is different than a recount. A recanvass is a review of the reporting sheets from each caucus site; a recount is a hand review of each caucus-goer’s individual preference card.

On Thursday morning, the Pete Buttigieg campaign called the Iowa Democratic Party to raise concerns about how the party was allocating state delegate equivalents from satellite caucuses, according to a person familiar with the call.

The campaign believes the party has not been abiding by the rules set out by the delegate selection plan, which has resulted in Bernie Sanders earning more delegates. The Buttigieg campaign declined to comment.

For the first time, this year the Iowa Democratic Party held caucuses outside the state or in places like nursing homes where people couldn’t physically attend a caucus site.

Iowa sends 41 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, based on candidates’ performance in the caucuses, a little more than 1% of the total needed for the nomination.

Problems with a smartphone app and a backed-up hotline used to report results led to hand-counting of the results that has taken three days.

With 97% of precincts in, Buttigieg and Sanders are essentially tied, with one-tenth of a percentage point between them.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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