DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s first in the nation status is at risk as we’re into the third day since the Iowa Democratic caucus without full results, but this is not the first time the Iowa caucus has slipped up.
In 1980, Republicans had technological issues as they tried to use a computer, for the first time, to calculate the results. The last two caucuses have also been difficult for Iowa. In 2012, Republicans announced Mitt Romney and the winner, only to realize it was actually Rick Santorum eight days later. In 2016, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders complained about the amount of delegates awarded by a coin toss.
“You add this element of an untested app to it which then collapsed phone lines jammed. It just became a, a fiasco,” says Iowa veteran political reporter David Yepsen.
With no winner announced on Feb. 3, candidates still continued on to New Hampshire, the nation’s first primary state.
“I don’t know anybody in Iowa who’s happy. And there’s a lot of anger,” said Yepsen. “There’s a lot of money that was wasted on this. There were a lot of people who have upended their lives. We derailed presidential candidates…into thinking this was an important place to spend their time.”
Yepsen strongly believes the possibility for Iowa to lose it’s caucus status is high, at least on the Democrat side of the equation. Since party primaries and caucuses are ran separately, it’s possible for Iowa Republicans to remain first.
“I would expect the Republicans can have a caucus on their party in 2024. It’s just a question of whether the democrats will have that will be able to have a contest that counts,” said Yepsen.
“It’s ironic that it had they done this count correctly, the Iowa Democratic Party today could be celebrating helping the first openly gay candidate come in first… a real historic day in American politics,” said Yepsen.
For Iowa to lose it’s status the Democratic National Committee would have to make a change to its rules effectively removing the state as first in the nation. Iowa could still continue to host a caucus but – “You know it’ll be a little bit like what if we gave a party and nobody came?” said Yepsen.