OTTUMWA — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is formally asking for a review of 28 caucus precincts, including one in Ottumwa, after it said the initial counts gave too many delegate equivalents to rival Pete Buttigieg.
The request, made by a letter from Sanders to Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price, was widely anticipated. Sanders blamed “mathematical errors and inconsistencies” in the precincts, as well as three satellite caucus locations, for adding 3.23 delegates to Buttigieg’s total. He said 2.39 of those should have gone to his campaign.
The Buttigieg campaign is also asking for a partial recanvass, listing 66 locations where it said the results should be scrutinized. It also sought review of the results at all satellite caucus locations. The campaign’s list includes only one area precinct: Monroe County’s seventh.
A recanvass of the results is an audit of the worksheets completed at caucus locations and of the reporting forms. Price has contended the results precinct chairs reported are legally binding. If the recanvass of the results goes as Sanders said it should, it would be enough to erase Buttigieg’s razor-thin lead in Iowa and give Sanders the win.
In Ottumwa’s eighth precinct, the Sanders campaign said there were 13 delegates at stake. Sanders won the precinct and was awarded five delegates in the initial tally. Sen. Elizabeth Warren received four, and Buttigieg received three.
That comes to only 12 delegates. The final one was awarded to Buttigieg. Sanders’ campaign said the delegate “should instead have gone to Warren, since her decimal is closest to .5.”
The change Sanders’ campaign said is needed in the precinct would move Warren into a tie with Sanders, with each receiving five delegates. It would drop Buttigieg to three.
The disputed Ottumwa caucus site is one of several in the area listed by the campaign, which is also challenging the results in Bellair/Lincoln in Appanoose County and Bloomfield’s Ward 3. Buttigieg received three delegates in the latter, but the Sanders campaign said he was not viable at that caucus location.
The Iowa Democratic Party’s caucus has been plagued with problems this year, including reported issues concerning the app used to report results and difficulties in calling in results when the app failed.