Iowa Democratic Party pick interim chair following bungled caucuses

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP/KCAU) — Iowa Democrats on Saturday picked a legislator to serve as interim chairman of the state party, after the previous leader resigned following a meltdown in tabulating results from the lead-off presidential caucuses.

The party’s State Central Committee voted to install Iowa state Rep. Mark Smith, of Marshalltown, as interim chairman, replacing Troy Price, the Des Moines Register reported. Price previously served as a campaign political director for President Obama and Hillary Clinton during their 2012 and 2016 campaigns respectively.

Smith is the minority leader of the Iowa House and was first elected in 2000. He has represented Iowa’s 43rd District since 2003.

The vote came a day after party officials agreed to hire two high-profile lawyers to investigate the factors that led to a breakdown in tallying the results on February 3, when problems with a mobile app and other issues prevented results from being released.

It took until February 6 for the state party, which operates the series of roughly 1,700 local meetings statewide, to issue what it said are complete results.

In those figures, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted. That is a margin of 0.09 percentage points.

The Associated Press said it was unable to declare a winner based on the available information. The results as reported by the Iowa Democratic Party, the AP believes, may not be fully accurate.

On Wednesday, Price announced his resignation, saying the party “deserved better than what happened on caucus night.”

Price received a standing ovation Saturday as he stepped down as chairman, the Register reported. Price and Smith hugged after Smith secured a majority of votes from a four-person ballot.

Earlier in the week, Price spoke out about the constant harassment that he and his staff received and his frustration with the head of the DNC, Tom Perez.

“Let’s talk about Tom Perez, the head of the DNC. He really seems to have distanced himself since the caucuses, since those numbers weren’t coming in and he tweeted out enough’s enough. This does not sound like a smooth partnership,” said

“Obviously, I was very disappointed, I mean to quote the chairman in one of his things I was mad as hell when he put out that tweet. The reality is that we were in the process, his team as well. You know they were with us all the way up to the day of and the days after the caucuses making sure we could get those results in. I was incredibly upset and disappointed to see that happening. Our teams, his team, and our team were working to finalize those results in that 72-hour window afterwards,” said Price, former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman.

The recanvassing process for over 140 Iowa precincts starts Sunday.

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