It was an election event months in the making. But it was clear by the end of the night it was a complete disaster.
Democrats have been waiting for this day for a long time, to see who would come out in first place (and second, and third) in the Iowa Caucus, the first-in-the-nation contest to determine the party’s nominee for president to run against Donald Trump in November.
Instead, technical glitches involving an app that the state’s party was using to calculate the results have delayed the outcome of the race. The results from zero precincts are presently recorded at this time, and it doesn’t seem likely any results will come soon.
CNN’s senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny explained the situation. “Campaigns have been told tonight to not expect any results from the Iowa caucuses until at some point on Tuesday,” Zeleny said.
Per @jeffzeleny: "Campaigns have been told tonight to not expect any results from the Iowa caucuses until at some point on Tuesday, two officials tell CNN."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 4, 2020
Democratic candidates were left in an awkward situation where they had to address their crowds of supporters, neither conceding defeat nor able to definitively say they won the race.
Some Republicans took the opportunity to mock Democrats for the debacle.
“Folks — this is the party that wants to run your healthcare, control your employment, decide what kind of car you can drive, and more,” Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina, said in a tweet.
There is another problem for Democrats, besides embarrassment, due to the delay: the results, if they indeed come out at some point on Tuesday, risk being overshadowed by Trump’s scheduled State of the Union address.
Without a clear winner, some campaigns were claiming victory anyway, including Pete Buttigieg, who seemingly said as much as part of his victory speech. “By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious!” the candidate said, per reporting from Mediaite.
Immediately after his speech, other campaigns, including Bernie Sanders’s, disputed the claim, suggesting (perhaps) that their candidate had won. Some, like Amy Klobuchar’s campaign, also claimed a sort of victory by saying they had outperformed other candidates in the race.
So, to recap, in the void of reliable data from the state party:
Pete claims victory outright. Amy‘s campaign says she may have finished above Biden. Warren campaign says she’s at least third. And now Sanders camp about to release their own data showing them ahead. 🙃 https://t.co/2BtnaitMEV
— Josh Jamerson (@joshjame) February 4, 2020
In short, the whole matter is unclear, but a number of the Democratic candidates — for now — are behaving as if they won, at least in some way, on Monday night. We won’t know for sure until (hopefully) Tuesday.