Three ways Mark Smith can restore faith in the Iowa Democratic Party

The Iowa Democratic Party released revised Iowa caucus results on the evening of February 18, following a recanvass of 79 precincts. Recanvass administrators changed delegate allocations in 26 precincts where the precinct chair did not properly apply the party’s rules on February 3, and revised results in three precincts after spotting data entry errors.

The adjustments shrank Pete Buttigieg’s delegate lead over Bernie Sanders to “almost nothing,” a Sanders news release declared: 563.207 state delegate equivalents to 563.127, to be precise. The Sanders campaign will request a recount in several precincts where results were not adjusted during the recanvass.

While the work of tabulating the Iowa caucus numbers nears its end, the work of restoring confidence in the process is just beginning. Events of the past few weeks exposed serious flaws in the party’s operations.

After being chosen to succeed Troy Price as state party chair on February 15, State Representative Mark Smith told reporters, “Priority number one is to get out across the state and to talk to everyday Iowans and restore the faith in the Iowa Democratic Party.” A few places he could start:

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From the chair: Reflections on the 2020 Iowa caucuses

Michael J. Jacobsen works in higher education, is a father of two, and is a former high school government, U.S. history, world history, geography, psychology, sociology, world political theory, and economics teacher. He resides in Williamsburg, Iowa and welcomes comments at jacobsenmike84@gmail.com. -promoted by Laura Belin

February 3, 2020, the day after the Super Bowl (and my birthday), was going to be a day to remember. Iowa was to kick off the “official” beginning to the 2020 election season. I was honored to be asked to serve as the caucus chair for the Williamsburg precinct in Iowa County for the Democrats.

I had caucused before, but not with the buildup and number of presidential candidates this one would have, and certainly never “running the show.” However, despite what the national media has reported regarding the problems with the reporting app (mostly justified), the delay in results, and other issues, these caucuses — for me — will be remembered for the many positives as well.

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Troy Price resigning; who will replace him as Iowa Democratic Party chair?

UPDATE: The State Central Committee elected Mark Smith on the first ballot. Three other candidates were nominated: Joe Henry, Bob Krause, and Gabriel De La Cerda.

Troy Price will soon step down as Iowa Democratic Party state chair, he informed some 60 members of the party’s State Central Committee on February 12.

In that letter (enclosed in full below), Price apologized for “unacceptable” problems with reporting the Iowa caucus results, adding that “Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party.” He expressed a “desire to stay” on the job but recognized “it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult.”

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One Iowa Democratic county chair's view: The work, worksheets, and disaster

Laura Hubka chairs the Howard County Democrats and is vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Veterans Caucus. -promoted by Laura Belin

How many of us spent hours and hours training for this caucus? I did. I also asked all the precinct chairs in my county to attend meetings and mock caucuses over the many weeks leading up to the caucus.  All these wonderful volunteers spent time and energy learning and reading the booklet.  They all asked questions that were on point, and I am so proud of them all. 

The night of February 3, we held the most organized caucus we had ever run in my county. At the end of the evening, as I went around collecting packets, I saw smiling faces and lots of real energy.  New faces and familiar faces, all thanking us for doing such a great job. I felt hope for November!

Then it started happening. …

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Iowa Democrats need new state chair–and new attorney

UPDATE: Troy Price announced on February 12 that he will step down as state party chair once the State Central Committee has chosen a successor.

What began as an embarrassing delay in reporting the Iowa caucus results has become a much bigger scandal for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Relying on misguided legal advice, party leaders are refusing to correct demonstrable errors in how county delegates were assigned in dozens of precincts. Instead, they are taking the untenable position that “incorrect math” or other mistakes made by volunteer precinct chairs “must not be changed to ensure the integrity of the process.”

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