Iowa Democratic Party chairman resigns after caucus chaos

Troy Price
Troy Price

The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party has resigned after a disastrous caucus process beset by technical glitches led to a dayslong delay in reporting the results, inconsistencies in the numbers and no clear winner.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 5:34 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 5:42 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party announced his resignation Wednesday after a disastrous caucus process beset by technical glitches led to a dayslong delay in reporting the results, inconsistencies in the numbers and no clear winner.

The embarrassing episode also threatened Iowa's cherished status as the first voting contest of the presidential primary season and led both front-runners to request a partial recanvass of the results.

“The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party," Price wrote in a resignation letter a week and a half after Iowa's caucuses.

“While it is my desire to stay in this role and see this process through to completion, I do believe it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult.”

He said his departure would occur as soon as the state party elects a replacement, and he called an emergency Saturday meeting to do so.

After a breakdown in tallying the results on Feb. 3, it took until Feb. 6 for the state party, which operates the series of roughly 1,700 local meetings statewide, to issue what it said are complete results.

In those figures, released by the party, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted. That is a margin of 0.09 percentage points.

The Associated Press said it was unable to declare a winner, based on the available information. The results as reported by the Iowa Democratic Party, the AP believes, may not be fully accurate.

Price had called the delays in reporting results “unacceptable.” He said the party would conduct a “thorough, transparent and independent examination” of what caused the delays. He apologized for the breakdown in the process.

Both Buttigieg's and Sanders' campaigns requested a partial recanvass of the Iowa results, which the Iowa Democratic Party approved. The party says it expects the recanvass of more than 80 precincts to begin on Sunday and last two days. A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count against paper records created by caucus leaders to ensure the counts were reported accurately.

The party has said it will not change mistakes in the math and the only opportunity to correct it would be a recount, which would be the candidates' next option after the recanvass is completed.

Price was elected to his second term as chairman of the state party in December 2018. In a statement released after his reelection, he noted that he was “incredibly proud” of the success that Iowa Democrats had in the 2018 midterms and looked forward to building on it.

“I cannot wait wait to work with them again on what could very well be one of the most consequential Iowa Caucuses of our time,” he said.

Price previously was part of several Democratic campaigns in Iowa, including those of former President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Price also had served as the party's executive director and led One Iowa, an LGBT advocacy group.

The Iowa Democratic Party instituted new rules for the 2020 contest that were meant to enhance transparency in the process.

In previous years, the Iowa Democratic Party reported just one number: the number of state delegates won by each candidate. For the first time, the party this year reported two other numbers — who had the most votes at the beginning and at the end of the night.

The additional data is a nod to Sanders and his supporters, who argued that the previous rules essentially robbed him of victory in his 2016 race against Clinton. That contest ended in a narrow delegate victory for Clinton in Iowa.

___

Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 7379
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Ramsey51446875
Dakota45976452
Anoka41782439
Washington26948283
Stearns22266222
St. Louis17787304
Scott17296124
Wright16082140
Olmsted1325598
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Carver1050745
Clay816392
Rice8063107
Blue Earth751541
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Otter Tail575478
Benton571697
Goodhue478572
Douglas468575
Mower466232
Winona455050
Itasca439156
McLeod424559
Isanti422464
Morrison419660
Nobles408048
Beltrami397059
Steele388715
Polk384868
Becker380953
Lyon361051
Carlton345654
Freeborn342029
Pine329022
Nicollet326243
Brown305440
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Todd282432
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Sibley143810
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Rock128319
Jackson121812
Pipestone115926
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11056
Murray10639
Swift105618
Stevens91411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86916
Koochiching83615
Wilkin81612
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Lac qui Parle75322
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5788
Mahnomen5539
Norman5399
Unassigned49293
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Red Lake3977
Traverse3705
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Cases: 367236

Reported Deaths: 5940
CountyCasesDeaths
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Linn20892335
Scott20060241
Black Hawk15824308
Woodbury15138228
Johnson1449183
Dubuque13380208
Dallas1118398
Pottawattamie11132168
Story1062348
Warren577988
Clinton555893
Cerro Gordo540689
Sioux514474
Webster512293
Marshall483075
Muscatine481399
Des Moines458066
Wapello4303122
Buena Vista424840
Jasper419372
Plymouth401280
Lee376055
Marion362875
Jones299057
Henry291937
Carroll285752
Bremer284860
Crawford266240
Boone265034
Benton256655
Washington254050
Dickinson248543
Mahaska230451
Jackson222142
Clay215725
Kossuth215564
Tama209871
Delaware209741
Winneshiek196835
Page192722
Buchanan191432
Cedar190023
Hardin185643
Fayette185141
Wright184737
Hamilton180049
Harrison179673
Clayton169556
Butler165034
Madison162519
Mills162422
Floyd161142
Cherokee158938
Lyon158241
Poweshiek154934
Allamakee151451
Iowa148824
Hancock148434
Winnebago142531
Cass138654
Calhoun138513
Grundy136333
Emmet134240
Jefferson132435
Shelby131137
Sac130419
Union128333
Louisa128149
Appanoose128049
Mitchell126442
Chickasaw124116
Guthrie121530
Franklin120721
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112823
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100224
Unassigned9710
Keokuk96031
Monroe95329
Ida90435
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis83024
Monona82730
Osceola78716
Greene77710
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