Clouded by doubts on a chaotic day-after, partial results of Iowa’s kickoff presidential caucus showed former Midwestern Mayor Pete Buttigieg and fiery progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the opening contest in the Democratic Party’s 2020 primary season.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice-President Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar were trailing in the tally of State Delegate Equivalents, according to data released for the first time by the state Democratic Party nearly 24 hours after voting concluded. The results reflected 62 per cent of precincts in the state.
While campaigns were eager to spin the results to their advantage, there was little immediate indication that the incomplete results eased the confusion and concern that loomed over the opening contest of the Democrats 2020 presidential primary season.
It was unclear when Iowa’s full results would be released.
During a private conference call with campaigns earlier in the day, state party chairman Troy Price declined to answer pointed questions about the specific timeline — even whether it would be a matter of days or weeks.
“We have been working day and night to make sure these results are accurate,” Price said at a subsequent press conference.
The leading candidates pressed on in next-up New Hampshire, which votes in just seven days, as billionaire Democrat Michael Bloomberg sensed opportunity, vowing to double his already massive advertising campaign and expand his sprawling staff focused on a series of delegate-rich states voting next month.
The party’s caucus crisis was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting the contest as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled field with no clear front-runner.
Instead, after a buildup that featured seven rounds of debates, nearly $1 billion spent nationwide and a year of political jockeying, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.
Iowa marked the first contest in a primary season that will span all 50 states and several U.S. territories, ending at the party’s national convention in mid-July.
Campaigning in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Warren said she was “feeling good” about her performance in Iowa but questioned the state party’s plans to release partial results.
“I just don’t understand what that means, at least half of the data. I think they ought to get it together and release all the data,” she said.