DES MOINES — Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price said Wednesday he is resigning.
The move comes nine days after the party was unable to report its presidential precinct caucus results in a timely fashion due to a technological malfunction.
Price offered his resignation in a letter sent Wednesday to the state party’s leadership committee.
Price called for an emergency meeting of the party’s State Central Committee for Saturday afternoon to elect an interim chairperson to replace him.
“The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party,” Price wrote. “While it is my desire to stay in this role and see this process through to completion, I do believe it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult.”
Myriad issues with a new computer program designed for the caucuses caused a delay in the state party reporting the February 3 caucus results. The complete results were not finished until three days after the caucuses, and questions remain about potentially incorrect results at dozens of precincts.
The delayed results once again sparked a national debate about caucuses and Iowa’s role as the lead-off state in the U.S. presidential nominating process.
Price promised an independent investigation into what went awry with the caucus results. In his resignation letter, he said the interim chairperson will oversee the investigation, as well as a recanvass and potential recount as requested by two of the presidential campaigns.
“Leadership requires tough decisions, and this is one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make,” Price wrote. “Throughout my tenure as chair, I have always said I would do what is in the best interest of the party. With my decision, I hope the party can regain the trust of those we lost and turn our attention to what is most important — winning in November.”
Price became state party chairman in 2017. Previously he also served as the state party’s executive director, and has worked for Democratic Iowa governors Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, and lieutenant governors Patty Judge and Sally Pederson, and on the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In 2018, Price oversaw a mixed bag of election results for Iowa Democrats. Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne defeated Republican incumbents and became the first women elected to the U.S. House from Iowa, giving Democrats three of the state’s four seats. But while Democrats made some gains at the statehouse, Republicans won the governor’s race and maintained majorities in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature.
Also Wednesday, the state party said it accepted recanvass requests from the Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders campaigns.
The Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns highlighted what they believe could be errors in the caucus results reported in a combined 143 precincts out of the more than 1,700 statewide.
The party said on Friday it will inform the campaigns the costs and timeline associated with a recanvass, after which the campaigns will have 24 hours to make a final decision on whether to proceed.
If the campaigns choose to proceed, the recanvass will start on Sunday and last for two days, the state party said. Per party rules, the canvass would be conducted by appointed personnel under the supervision and direction of the state party’s leadership committee, and each campaign would be allowed two representatives to observe.
A recanvass is not open to the public or media, the state party said.