With onlookers in the dark, rumours spread that a problem with a phone app, which precincts use to send their vote totals to the party, was responsible. Iowa Democratic county chairs said they had been struggling to use the app, though a party spokeswoman said: “This is simply a reporting issue, the app did not go down and this is not a hack or an intrusion. The underlying data and paper trail is sound and will simply take time to further report the results.”
With no results forthcoming, different campaigns sought to fill the information vacuum, each claiming that their candidate had performed strongly.
The Bernie Sanders campaign released “internal reporting numbers”, which it said represented the results from about 40% of precincts in Iowa. The campaign’s data showed Sanders in the lead with 30% of the vote, Pete Buttigieg in second place with 25%, and Elizabeth Warren third on 21%.
Buttigeg, offering no data, declared he had won the caucus. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said: “By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.” New Hampshire will vote in the Democratic primary on 11 February.
Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota who is fifth in the polls, claimed she and her supporters were “punching above our weight” in the Iowa tally, while Elizabeth Warren offered something approaching a victory speech. “Tonight showed that our agenda isn’t just a progressive agenda. It isn’t just a Democratic agenda. It’s America’s agenda,” she said.