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Iowa Caucus Results Delayed Due to ‘Inconsistencies’ Found by State Party

Harvard's Institute of Politics hosted a viewing party to watch the coverage of the Iowa Caucus, the first major nomination contest of the 2020 presidential election cycle.
Harvard's Institute of Politics hosted a viewing party to watch the coverage of the Iowa Caucus, the first major nomination contest of the 2020 presidential election cycle. By Allison G. Lee
By Joshua C. Fang and Jasper G. Goodman, Crimson Staff Writers

The results of the highly anticipated Iowa Democratic caucuses were not released on Monday night due to “inconsistencies” found by the Iowa Democratic Party in caucus data.

The results are expected to be released Tuesday, according to CNN.

Iowa, the first state to weigh in on presidential primaries, does not account for a significant share of the delegates at the Democratic National Convention, where the party nominee is officially selected. However, the Iowa caucuses are important for candidates to gain momentum going into later primaries, according to Harvard Government Professor Ryan D. Enos.

“The literal significance in terms of the delegates is pretty minor because it’s a small state and there’s not many delegates awarded,” Enos said. “There’s an idea that [a win] can build momentum for a candidate and can make a candidate either look a lot more viable by exceeding expectations or look not as viable if they don’t hold up to the expectations that people have for them.”

Enos noted that the results of the Iowa caucuses and the next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary can influence the results of states with bigger delegate counts, such as California.

“There’s people in California still that probably haven’t made up their minds and when they look at these results in New Hampshire and Iowa, those are things that affect the way they’re ultimately going to vote,” he said. “So people in California can still be swayed by what happens in the early states.”

Recent polling showed United States Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Peter P. M. Buttigieg ’04, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) running in a close four-way race in Iowa. U.S. Senator Amy J. Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also picked up traction among Iowans in recent weeks, according to an Emerson College poll.

Iowa is one of only six states that uses caucuses — as opposed to voting in traditional primaries — to determine how its delegates at the national party conventions will vote. In caucuses, which are run by state parties, voters congregate in groups and lobby undecided attendees to to support their prefered candidates at precincts around the state.

A number of Harvard affiliates participated in this year’s caucus process.

Nina B. Elkadi ’22, a lifelong Iowa City resident, is taking a leave of absence from Harvard this spring in order to participate in the Democratic primary process. In addition to working as a full-time organizing intern for the Elizabeth Warren campaign, Elkadi was selected as a precinct captain for an Iowa City precinct.

As precinct captain, Elkadi — a member of the Harvard College Democrats and Harvard for Warren — was responsible for speaking on behalf of the Warren campaign at her precinct and convincing caucus goers to support her candidacy.

“I need to be here. I need to be completely here, not even a little bit thinking about Harvard, or classes, or anything like that,” Elkadi said. “Being on Harvard's campus, I can do almost nothing as close to what I can do at home on the field, talking to people I grew up with.”

For the first time in its history, the Iowa Democratic Party also held satellite caucus events around the country where Iowans outside the state could still vote. At a remote event at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square Monday, Sanders topped other primary candidates with 22 votes from out-of-state Iowans. He was awarded two delegates.

Warren finished in second place at the Cambridge event with 20 voters and two delegates, Buttigieg finished third with eight votes and one delegate, and Andrew Yang had one voter and received no delegates.

Lottie Gidaul — a Wesleyan University freshman who hails from Iowa City — traveled to Cambridge to participate in the remote caucus. Gidal said she was persuaded to support Warren by other caucus goers.

“I make up a lot of my decisions by hearing other people’s perspectives and hearing what they’re excited about,” Gidal said. “My family is very much excited about Warren and a lot of my friends are excited about Warren. Understanding the passion that they have — just getting to feel that — I think that won me over.”

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at jasper.goodman@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.

—Staff writer Joshua C. Fang can be reached at joshua.fang@thecrimson.com.

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PoliticsDemocratsFront Photo Feature2020 Election