Iowa Democratic Party chair resigns after caucus fiasco

Dareh Gregorian and Maura Barrett
Chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party Troy Price exits the stage after speaking about the technical issues that delayed the Iowa Democratic caucuses results during a news conference at the Iowa Events Center on February 4, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Joshua Lott | AFP | Getty Images

The Iowa Democratic Party chairman is stepping down from his position, he announced on Wednesday, eight days after the Iowa caucuses became a national fiasco for the Democrats.

"The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party," Troy Price wrote in his resignation letter to the State Central Committee.

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"While it is my desire to stay in this role and see this process through to completion, I do believe it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult."

The reporting totals were put out by the IDP in fits and spurts in the days after the caucus. Results were delayed by what Price said were "coding issues" with a smartphone app that was being used to help tabulate results in the contest for the first time.

That wasn't the only issue. The caucus results were also rife with potential errors and inconsistencies that could affect the outcome of the contest, according to a review by the NBC News Decision Desk.

Both Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg claimed victory in the contest, and the confusion resulted in delegates not being awarded until Friday — three days after the election. Buttigieg was awarded 14 delegates and Sanders 12.

The Democratic National Committee and the Sanders and Buttigieg campaigns have asked for a recanvass of certain areas, essentially a double-checking of the vote. The party said earlier Wednesday the recanvass would begin Sunday and last two days.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly mocked the Democrats for vote counting mess, and did again earlier on Wednesday. "We were actually able to quickly count our votes. We knew within minutes after the poll how many votes we had, unlike the Democrats," he told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Ecuador's president.

While Price accepted ultimate responsibility for what happened, he said in his resignation letter that there's plenty of blame to go around.

"There is no doubt that the process of reporting results did not work. It was simply unacceptable," he said. "It is why I called for an independent review of the decisions and processes that lead to this failure. While this process is just beginning, know that the IDP is not the only party to blame for what happened last week. We worked collaboratively with our partners, our vendors, and the DNC in this process, and I am confident the review will be able to determine exactly what went wrong, what went right, and how we can avoid this from ever happening again."

Price also defended his staff's handling of the caucus fallout, saying that they "worked under immense pressure" and endured "threats to personal safety, taunts, and anger from people around the globe."

"These are people who are working hard towards our common goal of electing Democrats in November, and I deeply regret that these dedicated employees of our party had to endure such abuse," he said.

The party will hold a meeting to elect an interim chair on Saturday.

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