More than 4 days after the conclusion of the Iowa Democratic caucuses, preliminary results were released by the party indicating that Pete Buttigieg is leading Senator Bernie Sanders by two delegate equivalents out of 2,152 total delegates, a razor thin margin. Sanders’ campaign has indicated that their data shows that he has won the popular vote within the state. The discrepancy led both candidates to publicly declare victory in Iowa, and The Associated Press announced that is in unable to declare a winner, citing inconsistencies and inaccuracies with the results based on their independent tabulation. Tom Perez publicly called for a recanvass of the results, piling even more pressure on Iowa party officials already embarrassed by the delays.
Iowa officials then turned to the press, claiming that the delays were caused in part by supporters of President Trump calling the party phone lines, which caused calls from precinct leaders to face long hold times. Reports emerged that internal Democratic party phone numbers had been leaked onto Internet message boards, which resulted in phone calls from nonresidents of Iowa, curious callers, and pranksters. The hotline became the primary means of communication for the party on Monday after a catastrophic app failure caused problems for reporting of results.
Kathy Sullivan, former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, called for an investigation into deliberate Republican interference with the phone lines. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh disavowed any knowledge, stating, “Don’t know anything about that but maybe Democrats should consider using an app of some kind next time.”
It is still not clear why the phone issues were not raised until four days after the caucus, how the phone numbers were leaked onto the Internet, why a secure, private phone system was not used, or how results are being verified. Iowa officials have been tight lipped about details, already facing mounting pressure both from DNC officials and from Republican critics capitalizing on the chaos.