The Iowa Democratic Party announced a new leader on Saturday, after a week of delayed results riddled with inconsistencies drew ire from national party members and campaigns.
State Rep. Mark Smith, of Marshalltown, was elected as the new chair by a majority vote of the Iowa party’s state central committee in a four-person contest on Saturday. The former chair, Troy Price, resigned from the position after a tumultuous week of working to report results from the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, and calls for Iowa to lose it’s first-in-the-nation status on the nominating calendar.
Results weren’t reported out of Iowa until several days after Feb. 3 after several precinct chairs couldn’t use a reporting app and a back-up phone line became backed up with long wait times. New reporting metrics this year aimed to make the caucus process more transparent showed inconsistencies in reporting between final results posted by the party and results from precincts’ tally sheets.
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a sliver of a lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, in state delegate equivalents, the traditional metric used to crown a “winner” of the caucuses, but Sanders had the highest tally of supporters on the first and second alignments. Both campaigns have asked for a partial recanvass, which will be conducted starting Saturday.
“I am honored that Iowa Democrats have put their faith in my leadership to help lead our party to victory this November,” Smith said in a prepared release Saturday. “…The challenges we face will not be easy, but we’ll face them with the undaunted courage and selfless sacrifice that elected the first Iowa women to U.S. Congress, won three statewide offices, and expanded our organizing foundation in all 99 counties.
“Iowa Democrats will not be distracted. The spirit of our party and our commitment to our mission is only growing stronger. Have no doubt: we will beat Donald Trump, send Senator Ernst and Steve King packing, and win back our legislature this November – and we will do so more united than ever. That is my commitment as Chair to Iowa Democrats. We’re going to get the job done.”