Limited results released Tuesday by the Iowa Democratic Party show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders leading the Iowa caucuses, with former vice president Joe Biden in a surprising fourth place. Senator Elizabeth Warren appears to be in third place.
The results are difficult to parse: Only 62% of precincts have been counted, and it is impossible to discern whether they are representative of the full state. Sanders led by one metric (the final popular vote) while Buttigieg led by another (state delegate equivalents).
The inconclusive returns came on the heels of a chaotic caucus night in which the Iowa Democratic Party failed to reveal any results. Party officials said “coding error” caused an app designed for transmitting caucus results to report only “partial data”.
Although there is insufficient data to determine the winner of the caucuses, they appear to have been damaging for Biden ― long considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. He trailed Sanders, Buttigieg and Warren in the popular vote by a distant margin.
Whoever receives the highest state delegate equivalent (SDE) count wins the Iowa Democratic caucuses.
The initial results showed Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, with 363 SDEs. Sanders was in second with 338 SDEs. Warren had 246 and Biden had 210. Senator Amy Klobuchar had 170, businessman Andrew Yang had 14 and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer had 4.
The popular vote shows Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, in the lead with 28,220 supporters, ahead of Buttigieg with 27,030 supporters, Warren with 22,254 and Biden with 14,716.
During a news conference in Des Moines ahead of the partial results being released, Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price said the party would release results from 62% of precincts in all 99 counties in Iowa.
“The reporting of the results and circumstances surrounding the 2020 Iowa Democratic Party caucuses were unacceptable,” Price said. “As chair of the party, I apologise deeply for this.”
Price did not say when the rest of the results would be released.
Chaos erupted Monday night as the country awaited the results of the 2020 Democratic caucuses, only to find out that the Iowa Democrats were conducting a “quality control” check and couldn’t say when the numbers would be released.
Since 1972, Iowa has been the first state to hold electoral contests during the presidential primary season. The caucuses have historically been a strong predictor of who will go on to win a party’s nomination.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.