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Throwing yet another wrench into the endlessly disastrous Iowa caucus process, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez on Thursday demanded an immediate "recanvass" of the vote even before the results have been fully reported by the Iowa Democratic Party.
"Enough is enough," Perez tweeted. "In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass."
In a follow-up tweet sent 40 minutes later, Perez wrote: "A recanvass is a review of the worksheets from each caucus site to ensure accuracy. The [Iowa Democratic Party] will continue to report results."
The announcement by Perez, who has faced growing calls to resign since Monday night, sparked further confusion and outrage, particularly among supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
"Let me see if I understand this," tweeted Sanders backer Shaun King. "Ninety-seven percent of the votes are counted. Bernie surges and is about to take the lead in delegates. Tom Perez calls for something called a 'recanvass.'"
As Common Dreams reported, a new batch of Iowa caucus results released early Thursday morning showed Sanders extending his popular vote lead over Pete Buttigieg to more than 2,500 votes and moving into a virtual tie in state delegate equivalents (SDEs). As the results stand, Sanders and Buttigieg are expected to emerge from the bungled, error-riddled process with the same number of national delegates.
Given the Iowa Dem Party has been giving us the data as it comes - 62%, 71%, 85%, 97% - they need to give us the final data at 100%, then do the recanvass.
This is beyond absurd.
— Alex Kotch (@alexkotch) February 6, 2020
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Ryan Cooper, columnist for The Week, wrote in response to Perez's demand that "the timing of this (right as Sanders is likely going to be declared a victor both on delegates and the popular vote) could not possibly be more suspicious."
Tyler Pager, political correspondent for Bloomberg News, reported Thursday afternoon that the Buttigieg campaign was in touch with Democratic Party officials in Iowa earlier in the day and raised issues about how SDEs were being calculated. In response to that reporting, The Intercept's Ryan Grim—who has also been tracking the developments closely—tweeted:
If Buttigieg is elected, he'll run out of managers to complain to. Hope he has a plan for that. https://t.co/eI4rUDZ1ey
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 6, 2020
Part of the reference in Grim's tweet is that it was a complaint filed by the Buttigieg campaign last week that led to the Des Moines Register and CNN from deciding not to release their joint pre-caucus poll in Iowa.
Grim also responded to other indications that Perez is pressing for a recount specifically due to how well Sanders is fairing in the tabulation of satellite caucuses—a dynamic he said that, if true, would be nothing less than "corrupt":
If this was @TomPerez's actual reason this is nothing other than corrupt. I reported yesterday that the satellite caucuses could make the difference for Sanders. This didn't come out of nowhere. To order a re-canvass because Sanders surged at satellites is staggering. Get over it https://t.co/nlCwII7oWr
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 6, 2020
CNN's Jeff Zeleny, citing two anonymous people familiar with the matter, reported that the Iowa Democratic Party was not given advance notice of Perez's demand for a recount.
"Perez doesn't point out that the DNC has been running the show in Iowa for the last 48 hours," Zeleny tweeted.
Asked about Perez's call for a recanvass during a press conference in New Hampshire Thursday, Sanders emphasized that he won the popular vote in the Iowa caucus and said "that is not going to be changed."