Sanders, Buttigieg Campaigns File for Partial Recanvass of Iowa Caucuses

February 10, 2020 Updated: February 10, 2020
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The presidential campaigns for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)  and ex-South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday filed a request for a partial recanvass of the Iowa Democratic caucus results.

The Sanders campaign cited “mathematical errors and inconsistencies” in more than two dozen locations that it says would change the results if amended. Meanwhile, the Iowa Democratic Party said the Buttigieg campaign requested the party check the results in 66 precincts.

The request came just before a noon deadline set by the party.

On Sunday, the Iowa Democratic Party released updated caucus results that gave Buttigieg, 38, a lead over Sanders, 78, of two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted, or 0.09 percentage points.

Right now, Buttigieg has 13 of Iowa’s 41 national delegates, followed by Sanders with 12.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), 70, has eight; former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, has six; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), 59, has one.

The 41st and final delegate from Iowa will go to the overall winner. While the state party said Sunday that it belongs to Buttigieg, the caucus won’t formally come to an end until Sanders’s requested recanvass—and any potential recount to follow—is complete.

The Sanders campaign said a recanvass could help ensure voters in Iowa trust the results even if it doesn’t change them.

“While a recanvass is just the first step in the process and we don’t expect it to change the current calculations, it is a necessary part of making sure Iowans can trust the final results of the caucus,” Jeff Weaver, senior adviser for the campaign, said in a statement.

Weaver said that the state party even admits some of the calculations used in the current final tally aren’t correct.

“Once the recanvass and a subsequent recount are completed in these precincts, we feel confident we will be awarded the extra national delegate our volunteers and grassroots donors earned,” he said.

Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend, Indiana mayor attends campaign event in Merrimack
Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend, Indiana mayor attends a campaign event in Merrimack, New Hampshire on Feb. 6, 2020. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)

The Iowa Democratic caucuses were roiled by a faulty app, which caused a significant delay in reporting the results. Initial results showed Buttigieg in the lead but each release showed Sanders gaining until the final count showed Buttigieg ahead by a sliver, which the Sanders campaign is challenging.

The Sanders campaign has outlined 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses where it believes correcting faulty math could swing the delegate allocation in Sanders’s favor and deliver him, not Buttigieg, that final delegate.

“These errors and inconsistencies are ripe for review because their correction would change the national delegate allocation by moving, at a minimum, one [national pledged] delegate from Mayor Buttigieg to my campaign,” Sanders wrote in a letter to Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price on Monday.

Price said at a Feb. 7 press conference after the party released 100 percent of the results that officials were still working on making sure the data was accurate. The final results were confirmed on Feb. 9.

Troy Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said last week that the state party should conduct a recanvass, a suggestion rejected by Price, who pointed out that state party rules dictate that a campaign needs to request a recanvass or recount. Price told reporters last week that he wanted “an independent investigation” into the caucuses.

A recanvass is not a recount, but a check of the vote count against paper records to ensure the counts were reported accurately.

Sanders was campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday ahead of the Feb. 11 Democratic primary there. He told people at a campaign stop that he could win the state, which would put him on the path to earning the Democratic nomination.

“Not only is the whole country looking at New Hampshire tomorrow, but the world is looking at New Hampshire,” Sanders said in Rindge. “What is New Hampshire going to do?”

Buttigieg was scheduled to speak in Exeter later in the day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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