Iowa Democrats Complete Recanvass, but No Delegates Are Shifted

The Iowa Democratic Party announced on Tuesday that it had completed its partial recanvass, changing results in 29 precincts but shifting no national delegates.

But the Epic of Iowa still isn’t over.

The recanvass drastically narrowed Pete Buttigieg’s small lead over Senator Bernie Sanders in state delegate equivalents: Mr. Buttigieg now has 563.207 to Mr. Sanders’s 563.127. The campaigns can now request a recount, which is a much more intensive process. And Mr. Sanders’s campaign said it would do just that.

“The recanvass process reduced the state delegate equivalent deficit by 97 percent,” Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, said in a statement. “We now believe a recount will give Sen. Sanders enough state delegate equivalents to put him over the top.”

The initial caucus results showed Pete Buttigieg with an extremely narrow lead over Mr. Sanders in the state delegate equivalent count. But campaigns and journalists identified a slew of irregularities and miscalculations, and Mr. Sanders’s campaign argued that those mistakes were enough to change the result.

So last week, Mr. Sanders requested a recanvass in specific precincts where his campaign said there were errors. In response, the Buttigieg campaign filed its own request.

Essentially, these were requests for the state party to check the calculations precinct leaders had done to convert each candidate’s supporter totals into state delegate equivalents. This process is meant to catch any errors in precinct leaders’ math.

But a recanvass can’t confirm whether the initial supporter totals the precinct leaders recorded on their worksheets were correct. That’s where a recount — checking the individual preference cards each caucusgoer filled out — would come in if a candidate requests one.

If the specific errors Mr. Sanders’s campaign claimed were all verified, he would net about six state delegate equivalents, moving him into first place. If the errors Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign alleged were all verified, Mr. Buttigieg would expand his lead over Mr. Sanders by about 14 state delegate equivalents.

The dispute is over one national delegate out of the nearly 2,000 needed to win the Democratic nomination. The initial results gave Mr. Buttigieg 13 national delegates and Mr. Sanders 12, with an additional delegate to be awarded to the state delegate equivalent winner when that winner is confirmed.

Trip Gabriel contributed reporting.