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Politics / Issues

Buttigieg And Sanders Lead After 1st Batches Of Iowa Results Are Released

Troy Price, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, has promised "a thorough, transparent and independent examination" of the problems that plagued the result reporting.

Updated at 12:04 a.m. ET

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is neck and neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, according to a partial release of results from the state Democratic Party.

With 71% of results in, Buttigieg has about 27% of the State Delegate Equivalent count, with Sanders close behind with 25% of delegate support.

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Sanders is actually ahead — ever so slightly — in raw votes, but the delegate count is what the state party uses to determine the winner of the caucuses.

The Iowa Democratic Party released the batch of results Tuesday afternoon following reporting issues that resulted in a 20-hour delay in releasing the partial vote totals.

It's not clear when the full results will be made public. There remains too many state delegate equivalents undecided to declare a winner.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is so far carrying third place, according to the partial results, commanding about 18% of delegate equivalents, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, whose haul is now nearly 16%.

On Tuesday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price called the delay in reporting results in the country's first presidential nominating contest "simply unacceptable."

"We were faced with multiple reporting challenges and decided, out of an abundance of caution, to protect the integrity of the Iowa caucuses and their results to take the necessary steps to review and confirm the data," he said. "A thorough, transparent and independent examination of what occurred [Monday night] will follow."

Price added: "The bottom line is that we hit a stumbling block on the back end of the reporting of the data."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the DNC has staff "working around the clock" to help the IDP count the votes.

"What happened last night should never happen again," he said. Perez added that the app would not be used anywhere else during the primary election process.

"The technology vendor must provide absolute transparent accounting of what went wrong," he said.

Questions are swirling about how exactly the state's Democratic Party bungled the Iowa caucuses. Precinct captains at some of the state's nearly 1,700 caucus locations complained that a new app designed to report vote tallies had malfunctioned. Other precinct officials described hourlong call waits on the party's backup hotline set up for reporting the night's results.

Monday night's issues placed heavy scrutiny on the Iowa Democratic Party and its decision to offer the app to report results, even after NPR and other outlets highlighted long-standing concerns with the app leading up to caucus night.

Still, speaking to their supporters, the Democratic campaigns aimed to put a positive spin on the caucuses, despite the lack of timely state results.

Some put out their own results, and all talked about the nominating process moving ahead to New Hampshire. Indeed, that's where they were Tuesday, looking ahead to next week's primary there, which is conducted as a standard election.

After New Hampshire, the next nominating contest is on Feb. 22 in Nevada, and the state Democratic Party there is promising that its caucusing process will not be a repeat of Iowa.

"We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus," chair William McCurdy II said in a statement. "We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward."

Asked on Tuesday whether the caucus night meltdown could mean that Iowa will lose its place holding the country's first presidential nominating contest, Price, the Democratic Party chair, focused on the immediate task at hand.

"This is a conversation that happens every four years. There's no doubt that that conversation will take place again. But right now, my focus is making sure these results come out," Price said. "We will have the results out as soon as we can."

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