DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic party officials in Iowa worked furiously Tuesday to deliver the delayed results of their first-in-the-nation caucus, as frustrated presidential candidates claimed momentum and plowed ahead in their quest for the White House.
In a statement early Tuesday, the Iowa Democratic Party blamed a “coding issue in the reporting system” that it said has since been fixed. The problem kept party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus, the much-hyped kickoff to the 2020 primary. It 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, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.
State party officials planned a mid-morning phone call with angry campaigns to update them on progress. The party said Tuesday its plan was to release results “as soon as possible” later Tuesday. It said it had verified the accuracy of the collected data and said the problem was not a result of “a hack or an intrusion.”
Still, there were signs that the process was ongoing and laborious. Party official were sending volunteers and staffers across the state to retrieve hard-copy results so they could check them against numbers reported from precincts via a mobile app that proved problematic for many users and over the phone. That was according to multiple sources working for the state party and granted anonymity to discuss sensitive party information.
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The caucus meltdown came after tens of thousands of voters spent hours Monday night sorting through a field of nearly a dozen candidates who had spent much of the previous year fighting to win the opening contest of the 2020 campaign and, ultimately, the opportunity to take on President Donald Trump this fall.
The candidates didn’t wait for the party to resolve its issues before claiming, if not victory, progress and moving on to next-up New Hampshire.
“It looks like it’s going to be a long night, but we’re feeling good,” former Vice President Joe Biden said, suggesting the final results would “be close.”