Partial results for the Iowa caucuses showed Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders with a preliminary lead and Joe Biden falling well behind the other top candidates. Follow the results here and read our live blog.
The results, which were released in two batches and came after a long delay attributed to a “coding issue” in the app used to tabulate caucus numbers, came from 71 percent of precincts. They showed Mr. Buttigieg with 26.8 percent of the state’s delegate equivalents, Mr. Sanders with 25.2 percent, Elizabeth Warren with 18.4 percent, and Joseph R. Biden Jr. with 15.4 percent. Amy Klobuchar had 12.6 percent of the delegate equivalents.
Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, apologized for the delay and said, “We know this data is accurate and we also have a paper trail.”
The caucus confusion has reverberated around the presidential race. Officials in Nevada, the next state to hold caucuses, said they would not use an app, as they had planned. A frustrated pack of Democratic candidates sought to turn the chaos to their own advantage as they barreled toward the next nominating contest, in New Hampshire. And Michael R. Bloomberg, the multibillionaire former New York City mayor, is trying to capitalize by doubling his spending on television commercials.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Partial results showed Buttigieg with a narrow lead over Sanders.
- Buttigieg trumpeted the early results.
- The faulty Iowa app was part of a push to restore Democrats’ digital edge.
- Nevada officials scrapped their plan to use a similar caucus app.
- Bloomberg plans to double his ad spending after the Iowa chaos.
Partial results showed Buttigieg with a narrow lead over Sanders.
Mr. Buttigieg took a narrow early lead over Mr. Sanders in the first wave of partial results from the caucuses. Ms. Warren was in third place and Mr. Biden was in fourth.
Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, spoke to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, before 62 percent of the results from the Iowa caucuses would momentarily be released. Late Tuesday night, more results brought the total up to 72 precincts reporting.
“We know this data is accurate and we also have a paper trail,” he said in Des Moines. “We have been working day and night to make sure these results are accurate.”
“This was a coding error in one of the pieces on the back end,” he added. “But the raw data is secure, I can assure Iowans of that.”
Mr. Price also expressed his regret at the delay. “The reporting of the results and circumstances surrounding the 2020 Iowa Democratic Party caucuses were unacceptable,” he said. “As chair of the party, I apologize deeply for this.”
Buttigieg trumpeted the early results.
LACONIA, N.H. — Less than an hour after partial results from the Iowa caucuses were released, Mr. Buttigieg greeted supporters inside a middle school gym here and opened his speech with the early good news for his campaign.
“Just in case you haven’t been glued to your phone the last few minutes, I want you to hear something from me, he said. “A little later than we anticipated, but better late than never, official verified caucus results are coming in from the state of Iowa; they’re not complete, but results are in from a majority of precincts and they show our campaign in first place.”
The crowd erupted with cheers and chanted, “President Pete, President Pete!”
“We don’t know all of the numbers, but we know this much,” he continued. “A campaign that started a year ago with four staff members, no name recognition, no money, just a big idea — a campaign that some said should have no business even making this attempt — has taken its place at the front of this race.”
The Sanders campaign sought to focus on the popular vote. “We are gratified that in the partial data released so far, it’s clear that in the first and second round more people voted for Bernie than any other candidate in the field,” said Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser.
And Mr. Biden’s campaign seemed ready to move on. “Thanks to Democrats like you, we fought hard in Iowa,” it said in a fund-raising appeal. “There are a lot of votes left to cast in the campaign, and I’m going to fight for every single one of them.”
The faulty Iowa app was part of a push to restore Democrats’ digital edge.
The smartphone app was the work of a little-known company called Shadow Inc. that was founded by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, and whose previous work was marked by a string of failures, including a near bankruptcy.
The app grew out of a broader push by Democrats, backed by tens of millions of dollars in donor money, to match the Republicans’ prowess in digital advertising and organizing after the 2016 election. Much of the energy and investment have gone into enterprises that are intended to both boost the Democrats’ digital game and turn a profit, like Shadow.
But the disarray in Iowa raised new questions about how the party hopes to compete in 2020 with the Trump campaign, a digital juggernaut that is churning out ads and raising record sums of money.
Given less than two months to build an app for reporting caucus results to the Iowa Democratic Party, Shadow produced technology that proved difficult to download and use and ended up delivering incorrect tallies. Read more here.
Nevada officials scrapped their plan to use a similar caucus app.
Democratic officials in Nevada tried to assuage fears that their Feb. 22 caucuses would not be a repeat of the Iowa meltdown. Officials said that they would not use the same app or vendor used in Iowa, despite previous plans to do so.
“NV Dems can confidently say that what happened in the Iowa caucus last night will not happen in Nevada,” William McCurdy, the state party chairman said in a statement. “We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward.”
While the state had planned to use a similar app from Shadow to calculate its results, a state party official said that after the problems in Iowa became clear, that plan was scrapped. The state party had gone through a practice run with the app without any problems last weekend.
Now, Nevada Democratic Party officials are scrambling to decide which of their backup plans they will put in place for the caucuses. The state party paid Shadow at least $58,000 to develop an app, and officials believed the company had created a slightly different plan for the state.
The Nevada caucus works somewhat differently in Nevada than in Iowa, with early voting open for the first time this year with written preference cards for candidates printed in English, Spanish and Tagalog. More than 80 early voting locations will be open beginning Feb. 15.
Bloomberg plans to double his ad spending after the Iowa chaos.
COMPTON, Calif. — Mr. Bloomberg’s presidential campaign moved on Tuesday to exploit the chaotic outcome of the Iowa caucuses, authorizing his campaign team to double his spending on television commercials in every market where he is currently advertising and expand his campaign’s field staff to more than 2,000 people, strategists involved in the conversations said.
The Bloomberg campaign has been trying to chart an unprecedented route to the Democratic nomination, skipping the first four contests in February but aggressively contesting the array of larger states that begin voting in March. From the outset, Mr. Bloomberg’s advisers believed the strategy would only have a chance of working if another moderate candidate — most likely former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — failed to emerge from February with a decisive upper hand in the race.
In an interview on Monday in Compton, Mr. Bloomberg was unusually blunt about his campaign spending strategy and his intent to seek advantages while his rivals toiled in the four early states, which have relatively few delegates needed to win the nomination.
“It’s much more efficient to go to the big states, to go to the swing states,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “The others chose to compete in the first four. And nobody makes them do it, they wanted to do it. I think part of it is because the conventional wisdom is ‘Oh you can’t possibly win without them.’”
Later, he added: “Those are old rules.”
Mr. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor whose campaign is fueled by a multibillion-dollar personal fortune, conferred with advisers on Tuesday morning about the muddled results in Iowa. Encouraged by the murky outcome, Mr. Bloomberg authorized his campaign team to undertake the expansion in advertising and staff.
His campaign also released a new advertisement scheduled to be aired nationally Tuesday night, when President Trump is set to deliver his State of the Union address. The spot focuses on criticism of Mr. Trump, warning of a nation “divided by an angry, out-of-control president” and a White House “beset by lies, chaos and corruption.”
The advertisement tries to portray Mr. Bloomberg as the candidate who is best equipped to beat Mr. Trump in November.
Washington lawmakers raised new questions about Iowa’s caucus system.
The electoral debacle in Iowa raised bipartisan concerns on Capitol Hill about the caucus system, prompting one top Democrat — Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois — to suggest that it be abandoned entirely.
Mr. Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, complained that the caucus system “limits and restricts opportunities for people to vote,” effectively disenfranchising poor and working people who do not have time to attend.
“As I watched that on television last night, I thought to myself, ‘How many folks at the end of a workday, picking kids up from day care are likely to show up at the caucus?’ Not many,” Mr. Durbin said. “I think we’ve got to take a look at it as a party.”
Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee’s top Democrat, both sought to tamp down fears that the caucus system had been hacked.
“We’re confident there was no outside interference in their system, and I’m sure the party in Iowa will figure out where their glitches were,” Mr. Burr told reporters.
“We have enough problems with the Russians and other foreign actors trying to destroy Americans’ trust in our elections — we don’t need to add fuel to the fires of those efforts,” Mr. Warner said in a statement.”
But Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, who sought his party’s nomination for 2016, warned there would be more problems to come: “Think #IowaCaucus meltdown is bad?” he wrote on Twitter. “Imagine very close Presidential election Russian or Chinese hackers tamper with preliminary reporting system in key counties When the official results begin to be tabulated it shows a different winner than the preliminary results online.”
Why did Iowa make the caucuses so complicated?
A lot of reasons contributed to Monday night’s events, chiefly a breakdown of the process by which caucus leaders were supposed to report results to the Iowa Democratic Party.
But one factor was baked into that process from almost the moment the caucuses ended four years ago.
Historically, the party had focused on highlighting only one caucus result: the number of delegates each candidate had earned for the state convention. The winner of the Iowa caucuses was the person who earned the most state delegates, which translate into national delegates, which determine the nomination. This year, however, the state party chose to release four results from the caucuses.
That’s because in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton edged out Mr. Sanders in the state delegate count by a quarter of a percentage point, earning roughly 700 to Mr. Sanders’s 697. That meant 23 national delegates for Mrs. Clinton and 21 for Mr. Sanders — an inconsequential difference between the two rivals.
Mr. Sanders’s 2016 campaign fought for an audit in Iowa — comparing the reported results with the papers on which caucus leaders had recorded voters’ preferences — and accused the state Democratic Party of a lack of transparency.
Largely because of Mr. Sanders’s objections, the party decided to release additional numbers in 2020 that it had always logged but never made public: the number of supporters each candidate had in the first round of voting and the number he or she had in the second round, after nonviable candidates were eliminated and caucusgoers realigned.
The idea was that all this data would provide a fuller picture of each candidate’s strength. But it also made reporting the results more complicated. Read more here.
Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Peter Baker, Alexander Burns, Nick Corasaniti, Sydney Ember, Reid J. Epstein, Sheera Frenkel, Shane Goldmacher, Christine Hauser, Astead W. Herndon, Nicole Perlroth, Jonathan Martin, Jennifer Medina, Matt Stevens, Katie Glueck, Jacey Fortin and Matthew Rosenberg.