While Iowa Democratic Party officials scrambled Tuesday to report results of caucuses gone chaotic, reports from some individual Iowa counties and small towns show a somewhat surprising support for former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg won or was in the top tier of selected precincts in Ottumwa, Centerville, Knoxville and Pella.
The vote was more complicated by the need to report three different numbers and problems with the app precinct leaders were given to report results.
During trainings held mid-January, precinct chairs were instructed to input their precinct's results through an app that they weren't given access to until just hours before voting began.
In the event that the app wasn't working they were given a number to call their results into, which unfortunately was the case for the Ward 4 Precinct at Oskaloosa High School's Cafeteria in Mahaska County, as well as all other precinct locations across the state.
Before understanding the magnitude of the problem and at the end of the caucus for Ward 4, Mahaska County Democratic Party Secretary Shea Cook mentioned they'd experienced issues with the app and would have to call in their results.
"There were some reporting issues," she said. "We were supposed to have an app that we could use, but their were some glitches with the app."
The phone lines were backed up and party officials had to recount the preference card caucus goers used to cast their votes.
In Ottumwa's Second Precinct at Horace Mann Elementary School, Buttigieg won.
Buttigieg drew support from Carol Shafer, who said his speaking ability helped sway her decision.
“I think Pete is very intelligent, and he’s a very good speaker,” she said. “If he had to debate [President Donald] Trump, he’d come out on top.”
The precinct saw 145 people turn out for the caucus. Buttigieg’s 44 supporters topped the list, with former Vice President Joe Biden second at 37. The latter is who David Shafer backed.
“I like Biden because of his ability to bring in moderates, conservatives and independents — and, hopefully, his ability to bring in minorities,” he said.
Charles Paulk and Lori Miller supported different candidates. Paulk wore a Sanders T-shirt. For Miller it was Elizabeth Warren.
“He’s for health-care for all,” Paulk said.
“I feel like all around she has — I may not agree with absolutely everything, but I agree with most of what she’s promoting,” Miller said.
“I know we can’t get what we all want in one candidate, but I think she’s a very bright woman. She has had a very strong career in the Senate and I think that could very well benefit her as our leader.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders took the top spot at the caucus held in the gym at Liberty Elementary School, where Ottumwa’s eighth precinct caucused.
Sanders had support of 24 people in the final count in Liberty’s gym, topping Warren by four and Pete Buttigieg, who finished third, by 10. Sanders had already brought in a win in Ottumwa’s noon satellite caucus, the first held in the state for this year’s contest. Sanders topped Warren 14-1.
In Centerville Ward 2, where the Daily Iowegian observed Monday's caucus votes, Buttigieg was the top-supported candidate, receiving four delegates. Sanders received three and Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar each received two delegates.
In two other precincts — Vermillion/Sharon/Douglas and Centerville Ward 1 — Buttigieg had strong support, but delegate counts weren't yet reported as of 10 p.m.
In Pella Ward 4, where the Pella Chronicle observed Monday’s caucus votes, Buttigieg and Sanders were the two favored candidates, each earning two delegates. Sanders trailed Buttigieg by only two votes, with 57 caucus-goers in favor of the former Indiana mayor compared to Sanders’ 55.
Trailing Buttigieg and Sanders were Elizabeth Warren (31 votes) and Andrew Yang (29 votes), who both received one delegate.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Biden came up just shy of being considered viable candidates. Based on a total of 172 caucus-goers, each candidate had to receive 26 votes to be considered viable.
Marion County Democratic Party Chair Ann Fields, who was also the precinct captain for Amy Klobuchar, felt the night was a success. Fields said that prior to the 7 p.m. start time, they had only been expecting around 80 people to caucus in Knoxville township.
Twenty-eight additional people registered the evening of the event, bringing the total up to 111 people.
As for her candidate receiving two delegates, Fields says she was ecstatic.
“Not only were we viable, we got two delegates!” Fields said of caucusing for Klobuchar. “I was worried about plain being viable, let alone getting a second delegate.”
Barb Anderson, who served as the precinct captain for Buttigieg, was impressed not only with the number of people who caucused for the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, but also the number of young people in attendance. Of the 111 people who attended Knoxville Township’s caucus, Buttigieg received support from 34.