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A sign designates the headquarters of the Iowa Democratic Party in Des Moines, Iowa, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/KC McGinnis

Iowa Democrats extend deadline for candidates to request review of results

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Democratic Party extended until Monday a deadline originally set for midday Friday for presidential candidates to request a review of the results of the Iowa presidential caucuses following the reporting debacle that forced a days-long delay in final numbers from the contest and left inconsistencies in the final count.

After a breakdown in tallying the results Monday evening, it took until Thursday for the state party, which operates the series of roughly 1,700 local meetings statewide, to issue final numbers — the result of an app failure and subsequent telephone logjam.

Following the party’s release of new results late Thursday night, 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 is unable to declare a winner in the race, the first of the 2020 Democratic nominating campaign.

Buttigieg campaign spokesman Chris Meagher told the AP in a text message that the campaign would not be requesting a recanvass of the Iowa results.

Sanders campaign officials did not immediately reply to a request for comment on a recanvass.

The breakdown in Iowa also exposed a rift between the state party and the Democratic National Committee, whose chairman Tom Perez asked the Iowa party to conduct a recanvass.

However, by party rules, only the candidates are allowed to request such a process.

Buttigieg leaves Iowa with at least a tie for the most delegates to the party’s national convention, regardless of which candidate eventually wins the Iowa Democratic caucus.

Buttigieg has won 13 national delegates in Iowa while Bernie Sanders has won 12, with one final delegate left undecided, according to the Associated Press delegate count. The last delegate will go to the winner, meaning Buttigieg can do no worse than finish in a tie for the lead as the race for the party’s nomination for president moves on to New Hampshire.

READ MORE: Do Iowa caucus winners become president? History shows mixed results.

The AP is unable to declare a winner of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses because of the tight margin between Buttigieg and Sanders and irregularities in this year’s caucus process. There is evidence the party has not accurately tabulated some of its results, including those released late Thursday that the party reported as complete.

National delegates are determined by the number of state delegate equivalents each candidate wins, both statewide and in individual congressional districts.

Buttigieg will earn at least a tie for first place in the national delegates in part because his support was more consistent across the state than Sanders’. For example, Buttigieg won the most state delegate equivalents in three of Iowa’s four congressional districts. Sanders came in first in the other congressional district.

The Iowa Democratic Party will eventually determine which candidate wins the final national delegate, though the state party’s decision could be challenged at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

Following Buttigieg and Sanders, Elizabeth Warren got eight delegates, Joe Biden got six and Amy Klobuchar got one.

Borenstein reported from Washington.