I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP world headquarters in my bedroom. It’s Tuesday, February 4, 2020. 7 days until the New Hampshire primary. 274 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.
Chaos, confusion in Iowa amid delay in caucus results
After months of tireless campaigning and meticulous planning by a historic throng of candidates, the highly-anticipated first contest of the Democratic presidential nomination ended in confusion on Monday as technical failures prevented the Iowa Democratic Party from reporting the results on caucus night.
As of this writing, the Iowa Democrats have still yet to announce any of the caucus returns.
In a statement released at about 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the state party acknowledged that they had found "inconsistencies" in the returns and was working to validate them using "tech systems," "photos of results," and a "paper trail."
The Iowa Democrats had intended to use a new app to allow precinct chairs to report their caucus results, but the app crashed repeatedly throughout the night. When representatives at the precincts then attempted to phone in their results to the party's hotline, the phone lines quickly became jammed — leading to the long reporting delay. (In one instance, which aired live on CNN, a precinct secretary waited on hold for an hour and a half attempting to report results to the hotline, only to be hung up on after 10 seconds.)
In place of any official results, many of the leading presidential candidates stepped forward to declare victory for themselves. The campaigns of former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders even released internal numbers from their precinct captains, hoping to corroborate their triumphant rhetoric.
"Iowa, you have shocked the nation," Buttigieg told supporters at a rally in Des Moines. "By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious."
"When those results are announced, I have a good feeling we're going to be doing very, very well here tonight," Sanders said in his own remarks.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who had been slipping in Iowa polling of late, notably did not participate in this jockeying, saying only in his remarks that "we feel good about where we are." Meanwhile, his campaign's general counsel called for the campaigns to receive "full explanations" from the state party and an "opportunity to respond" before the official results are released.
Reinforcing the perception that the national frontrunner came up short in the caucus contest, two rival campaigns declared that they had outpaced him in Iowa.
"It’s a very close race among the top three candidates (Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg) and Biden came a distant fourth," Joe Rospars, chief strategist for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, tweeted. "With the numbers we've seen internally and publicly, we're running even or ahead of Vice President Biden," Justin Buoen, campaign manager for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, added.
However, the reporting delay will likely serve to sow mistrust in the perennially-complex caucus process and could deny the eventual victor their post-Iowa momentum boost while having a mitigating effect on the damage dealt to the contenders who fare poorly.
In the end, the biggest loser may end up being the Iowa caucus process itself, which is facing a fresh round of questions and doubts that could lead to its demise (or a downgrade in its priority status) in the next presidential cycle.
The Iowa Democratic Party chairman told reporters in a conference call at around 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time that full results are expected to be released sometime today.
As they wait to learn the results of the vast time and effort they invested in the caucuses, most of the top campaigns have already moved on from Iowa, landing in New Hampshire this morning for full schedules of events in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Granite State voters head to the polls on February 11, in a primary election organized by the state government and counted by traditional paper ballots.
Results are tabulated at a caucus site in Des Moines. (Jordan Gale/New York Times)
President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union address at 9:10 p.m. ET. According to the Washington Post, the theme of his speech will be "the Great American Comeback," an opportunity for a victory lap on the eve of his expected acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial.
Speaking from the chamber where he was impeached less than two months ago, Trump will reportedly present a vision of "relentless optimism" and "summon lawmakers from both parties to work together on economic policies and other issue areas," the Post reported.
The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. ET. Following the prayer and pledge, senators will have the opportunity to speak for up to 10 minutes at a time. They will proceed as a body to the House chamber at 8:25 p.m. ET ahead of the State of the Union.
The House managers and the president's defense counsel delivered their closing arguments in the Senate impeachment trial on Monday. Senators are scheduled to vote on Wednesday on whether to remove President Trump from office. In remarks on Monday, two swing-vote senators gave clues as to their stances: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called for Trump to be censured, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that she would vote for his acquittal.
The House will convene at 12 p.m. ET. Following one-minute speeches, the chamber will recess to allow for a security sweep ahead of the State of the Union. Lawmakers will return at about 8:35 p.m. to meet in a Joint Session of Congress to receive the president's address.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will campaign in Hudson, New Hampshire.
Former Vice President Joe Biden will campaign in Nashua and Concord, New Hampshire.
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will campaign in Manchester, Hampton, Portsmouth, Laconia, and Concord, New Hampshire.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will campaign in Nashua and Litchfield, New Hampshire.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar will campaign in Concord, Portsmouth, and Nashua, New Hampshire.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will campaign in Manchester and Durham, New Hampshire.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will campaign in Milford and Manchester, New Hampshire.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will campaign in Keene, New Hampshire.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang will campaign in Manchester, New London, Laconia, and Lebanon, New Hampshire.
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