Frustrations started to boil over early this morning on a call between presidential campaigns and the Iowa Democratic Party.
Multiple campaigns pressured IDP Chair Troy Price about the timeline of when reporting would resume, issues they saw in precincts and the overall integrity of the Iowa Caucus.
“The integrity of this process has been one our most paramount concerns,” Price told the campaigns at the outset of the call, audio of which Starting Line obtained. “Right now, we are using a lot of the results from the hotline. We are validating results using that paper trail, and that system is taking longer than expected … Out of an abundance of caution, we are manually recording these results, and we expect to have numbers to report Tuesday, later today.”
He would later say similar things on a very brief press call shortly after 1 a.m.
Many of the campaigns were not happy.
“I think it goes without saying that confidence has been shaken in the process, not just by the delay, but the increasing amount of anecdotal evidence that’s out there,” a Biden official told Price. “We’re seeing reports all over the place of people who tried to call the results in by phone, it took too long, so they just gave up or they left. Confidence has been undermined, so I’m very glad to hear about the track you’re all on.”
The Biden official, whose name we couldn’t clearly hear, repeatedly encouraged Price to bring the campaigns into the auditing process.
“I think you have a real uphill battle in restoring public confidence in your process tonight and in your party,” she said. “I would think you would want all of us as campaigns to be your advocates in restoring that confidence.”
Brendan Summers of the Elizabeth Warren campaign questioned what percentage of full and partial results the state party had fully in.
“We will back to you on that information,” Price responded. “We are still entering information as we’re speaking.”
Justin Buoen of the Amy Klobuchar campaign questioned why they couldn’t push out the results that they did have already in and verified.
“Our goal, as it’s always been, our mission, is to ensure the integrity of these results,” Price said. “When we are confident to put those out, we will get them out to you.”
Jeff Weaver, the senior adviser to Bernie Sanders’ campaign, was particularly frustrated. He mentioned that he had been “hearing some chatter” that people close to the IDP were pointing blame at the DNC requiring reporting out more numbers. Weaver noted that the party had always collected those numbers, just not reported them.
“But you’ve always tabulated them. You just didn’t have to put them out, Troy. It’s bogus!” Weaver said. “If you’re telling me that in the past, you’ve never tabulated these numbers, right, this whole process has been a fraud for a hundred years!”
“It’s damn good that you have to put them out, because the sort of way you’ve been doing it in the past, has not been up to muster,” he added. “It’s very disappointing.”
Both the Klobuchar and Biden campaigns brought up the presidential preference cards and whether the IDP had concerns with how those were used in the caucuses.
“All of this is really adding to this atmosphere of distrust,” the Biden official said.
Finally, Misty Rebik, Sanders’ Iowa state director, reemphasized their desire to see full transparency from the state party.
“Look, like all the campaigns right now are in agreement that it’s going to be best for the party, it’s going to be best for all of us, for you to be transparent about this and share what you got,” she said. “This is unity, this is doing all the things we say we’re going to do in the party, we’re going to bring people together.”
by Pat Rynard