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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Iowa CHAOS: Democrats UNDONE by Reporting FIASCO; Buttigieg Declares Victory, Bernie Counters

Caucus goers seated in the section for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden hold up their first votes as they are counted at the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Caucus goers seated in the section for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden hold up their first votes as they are counted at the Knapp Center on the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa, 
Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Seth McLaughlin and David Sherfinski

ANKENY, Iowa — The biggest news out of Iowa on Monday was that there wasn’t any news about who actually won the caucuses, thanks to reporting mishaps that threw the race into a state of chaos.
The first contest in the 2020 Democratic presidential race ended in a nightmare fashion for the party after Iowa Democrats bungled the reporting of the results — raising doubts over the accuracy of the pending counts and the impact the caucuses will have on the overall contest as it moves ahead.
The reporting problems put a damper on what Democrats were hoping would be an electric start to the 2020 presidential race, and left the entire field in limbo — stuck waiting for a clearer sense of where they stood in the race after months and months of campaigning, while also looking ahead to the New Hampshire primary next week.
Despite the mess, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont struck an optimistic note at his election night party in Des Moines.
“I have a strong feeling that at some point the results will be announced. And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we are going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa,” Mr. Sanders told his cheering supporters.
“The message that Iowa has sent to the nation is a message shared by the American people … we want a government that represents all of us not just wealthy campaign contributors and the 1 percent,” Mr. Sanders said. “Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.”
At his election night party, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg also claimed victory, saying that “tonight, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality.”
“So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it is all said and done — Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” he said, sending his supporters into a frenzy. “Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
By most accounts, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg were poised for strong finishes here. The fortunes of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren seemed to be more up in the air.
“Well, it looks like it’s going to be a long night, but I’m feeling good,” Mr. Biden told his supporters.
Ms. Warren said her campaign is “just getting started.”
“Tonight, we are one step closer to winning the fight for the America we imagine is possible,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.
The Iowa Democratic Party, meanwhile, was facing an avalanche of criticism after it failed to report the final voting tallies in a speedy fashion.
More than four hours after the caucuses had begun at more than 1,600 sites across the state, the results were still not known, and the campaigns, their supporters and the talking heads on cable television were losing their patience.
“We found inconsistencies in the reporting of three sets of results,” said Mandy McClure, spokesperson for the Iowa Democratic Party. “In addition to the tech systems being used to tabulate results, we are also using photos of results and a paper trail to validate that all results match and ensure that we have confidence and accuracy in the numbers we report.
“This is simply a reporting issue. The app did not go down, and this is not a hack or an intrusion,” she said. “The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
The lack of results provided cover for the candidates who political observers suggested appeared to have fallen short of expectations.
“We know there’s delays, but we know one thing: We are punching above our weight,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota told supporters gathered in Iowa. “We are feeling so good tonight, and I cannot wait. Somehow, some way I’m going to get on a plane tonight to New Hampshire and we are bringing this ticket to New Hampshire.”
Former nonprofit executive Andew Yang also promised his supporters that he is marching on to New Hampshire.
President Trump’s reelection campaign mocked the political mayhem.
“Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager. “It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process. And these are the people who want to run our entire health care system?”

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