Pete Buttigieg has narrowly edged out Bernie Sanders for delegates from last week's Iowa caucuses, according to an announcement late Sunday by the state Democratic Party.
Updated results from the party show Buttigieg with 26.2 percent of state delegate equivalents, compared to 26.1 percent for Sanders. Elizabeth Warren (18 percent) was third, and Joe Biden (15.8 percent) was fourth.
According to the state Democratic Party, Buttigieg is projected to win 14 delegates to the national convention this summer in Milwaukee, while Sanders will get 12 delegates. Warren will receive eight delegates, Joe Biden will get six, and Amy Klobuchar will receive a single delegate.
Sanders did have the support of more caucus-goers, both on the first and final alignments. But because of the caucus rules, he will receive slightly fewer delegates, if these numbers hold.
The announcement came after a review by the party of precincts with apparent mistakes in their results. Of the 95 instances flagged by campaigns, the state party said, 55 had small changes, 36 precincts matched what was reported by precinct leaders on caucus night and four were duplicates.
The announcement brings the end to the dysfunctional and disastrous caucus much closer. Candidates have until noon Central on Monday to request either a recanvass or recount. Sanders team said Sunday that they will at least request a recanvass.
“We will request a recanvass of specified precincts,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders' senior adviser. “This was an informal review for clerical errors,” he said, referring to the IDP review.
Weaver said the math in a number of the precincts was "wrong," and that the Sanders campaign is also considering requesting a recount. Campaigns that request a recanvass can request a recount within 24 hours of the recanvass being completed, according to the state party's recanvass and recount manual.
The Associated Press declined to call the race, following the updated results released on Sunday evening, citing the close margin and still some outstanding apparent inconsistencies in results.
“There is still some evidence the party may not have accurately tabulated some of its results, including those released late Sunday following a series of revisions,” an alert from the wire service read.
A major point of contention is that the Iowa Democratic Party maintains that it cannot correct errors on precinct math worksheets, even if there are apparent mistakes on them.
“It is the legal voting record of the caucus, like a ballot,” Shayla McCormally, a lawyer for the state party, wrote in a memo sent by state party chair Troy Price to party officials that was obtained by The New York Times. “The seriousness of the record is made clear by the language at the bottom stating that any misrepresentation of the information is a crime. Therefore, any changes or tampering with the sheet could result in a claim of election interference or misconduct.” The memo continued that the only way to challenge worksheets is for a campaign to seek a recount, a much more intensive process than a recanvass, according to The Times.
Price made a similar argument in a press conference on Friday, as did party officials in a background call with reporters on Sunday.
Several of the precincts flagged by campaigns were not updated, despite concerns, because the “math worksheet matches what was reported.”
Precinct chairs in Iowa are volunteers; they are not paid by the state party or affiliated with any campaigns.
Each math worksheet is signed by the precinct caucus chair, secretary of the caucus and a local representative for each campaign, according to worksheets that have been posted online. At the bottom of each worksheet is a warning that says “any misrepresentation of the caucus information will result in charges of criminal misconduct,” but volunteers can, and have, made mistakes.
The apparent mistakes in precinct-level reporting is just the latest black eye for this year’s Iowa Democratic caucuses.
The release of results was initially delayed for about a day, after an app that was supposed to be used to transmit results from the precinct to the state party failed.
“Look, all I can say about Iowa is, it was an embarrassment,” Sanders said on CNN earlier on Sunday. “They screwed it up badly, is what the Iowa Democratic Party did.”
The debacle has also called into question Iowa’s position at the front of the nominating calendar. Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, who himself has drawn fire for Iowa’s failures, also said on CNN on Sunday that Iowa’s spot is not secure. When asked if Iowa should lose its first in the nation status, he responded: “Well, that's the conversation that will absolutely happen after this election cycle.”
It also increases scrutiny for the next contests on the calendar: New Hampshire and Nevada. New Hampshire, which has a state-run primary, has been in a cold war with Iowa as pressure increases to not have two majority-white states at the front of the primary calendar.
“Bill Gardner is the happiest person alive,” said Irene Lin, a Democratic strategist in New Hampshire, referring to New Hampshire’s longtime secretary of state, told POLITICO. “It just strengthens [New Hampshire’s] case for being first-in-the nation versus Iowa.”
It also threw off the plans of Nevada, the next caucus on the calendar. The party said it was scrapping plans to use an app to report results in light of the Iowa caucuses. (However, The Nevada Independent reported that party officials would distribute iPads preloaded with a “tool" to help organizers calculate the results.)
“The Nevada caucus will be nothing like the Iowa caucus — and in more ways than one,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement on Friday. “Unlike Iowa, we expect Nevada’s reporting process and results will be free from the distrust and uncertainty experienced in the Hawkeye State. I am confident that what happened in Iowa will not happen in Nevada.”
Holly Otterbein reported from Durham, N.H.