Buttigieg, Sanders Top Vote-Getters in Iowa Caucus

The final results from the Democratic Party’s tumultuous Iowa caucuses were released late Thursday.  The top two candidates have almost the same number of state delegates after Monday’s caucuses.Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, won 26.2% of the delegates to the state’s Democratic Party convention, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders earned 26.1%. However, Sanders leads in the popular vote.The state convention will determine how many of Iowa’s 41 delegates to the national democratic convention each candidate will get.Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called for a recanvass earlier Thursday after technical problems ruined plans to produce accurate and timely vote counts. A recanvass would mean reviewing the math worksheets of each caucus site.However, Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said a recanvass would be initiated only if a candidate requests one, a scenario that seems unlikely at this point. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures while speaking during a news conference at his New Hampshire headquarters, Feb. 6, 2020 in Manchester, N.H.“We’ve got enough of Iowa,” Sanders said Thursday at a CNN town hall. “I think we should move on to New Hampshire,” the site of the next Democratic campaign.Buttigieg said he would “leave it to the party” to determine if there should be a recanvass.Sen. Elizabeth Warner, who came in third in the caucuses, said “I’m focused on moving forward.”Former Vice President Joe Biden said coming in fourth was a “gut punch” for his campaign, but added that he is not “going anywhere.” He led most of the voter polls even before declaring his candidacy.Senator Amy Klobuchar followed Biden for fifth place.Precinct captain Carl Voss of Des Moines displays the Iowa Democratic Party caucus reporting app on his phone outside of the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 4, 2020.Mobile app failsThe voting chaos of the caucuses stemmed mostly from the failure of a mobile app the Iowa Democratic Party used to count and verify the results. It took nearly an entire day to report even a single vote from Monday’s caucuses because of what party officials said was a coding error and vote inconsistencies being reported on the app specially designed for vote counting throughout the rural state.When it became apparent that the app was failing, precincts tried to phone in their results, but were placed on hold for hours, in some cases. Somehow, the telephone number used to call in the votes became public and party officials said the lines were jammed with people intent on messing up the vote counting process.It was an awkward kickoff for the Democratic Party as it tries to determine who will be its candidate to try to unseat Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. The results underscore a sharp ideological divide within the party.The youthful Buttigieg, 38, represents the moderate wing of the Democratic Party and is the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate. Sanders, 78, is a self-declared democratic socialist who endorses universal medical coverage while eliminating private insurance. Buttigieg backs government-run health insurance while letting people keep their private coverage.Sanders would provide all students with free four-year college education and cancel outstanding student debt. Buttigieg would limit free college to low-income families while looking for other ways to reduce debt.But both support the “Green New Deal” to combat global warming, favor decriminalizing illegal immigration, vow to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, and favor bringing home U.S. troops from Afghanistan.Can caucuses survive?The chaos and confusion surrounding Monday’s caucuses bring questions whether Iowa can continue to be relied on to be the first state in the nation to officially choose presidential candidates. Iowa’s population is 91% white, and some Democratic analysts say the state hardly reflects the national Democratic base, which includes a large percentage of minorities.But the state’s three leading Republicans, senators Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, defended Iowa’s role in picking presidential nominees for both Democrats and Republicans. They said they were confident “that every last vote will be counted, and every last voice heard” in the Democratic contest.



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