Buttigieg flags 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses, but state party pushes back

Citing "irregularities" in vote results, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign questioned his third-place finish in Nevada’s caucuses and called for the state’s Democrats to release a more detailed breakdown of votes and address reports of more than 200 problems allocating votes Saturday.

The request from the campaign of the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., came just weeks after the debacle of the Iowa caucuses, which were derailed by unclear and inconsistent results. But, the Nevada State Democratic Party suggested that Buttigieg's campaign seek a recount if it wanted to challenge results.

In a letter sent to the state party late Saturday night and provided to Fox News on Sunday, the Buttigieg campaign claimed the process of integrating four days of early voting into in-person caucuses held Saturday was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies.”

Campaign officials also said they received reports that volunteers running caucuses did not appear to follow rules that could have allowed candidates to pick up more support on second rounds of voting.


The Buttigieg campaign called for the party to release more details from the votes, including a breakdown of early votes cast by home precincts.

“First, release early vote and in-person vote totals by precinct. ... Second, correct any outstanding second alignment errors identified by presidential campaigns, including ours. ... Third, explain anomalies in the data,” the letter read.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won Nevada’s caucuses, with former Vice President Joe Biden a distant second and Buttigieg in third.

“Currently our data shows that this is a razor-thin margin for second place in Nevada, and due to irregularities and a number of unresolved questions we have raised with the Nevada Democratic Party, it’s unclear what the final results will be,” Buttigieg’s deputy campaign manager Hari Sevugan said in a statement.


Nearly 75,000 people cast votes during four days of early caucus voting — almost as many Democrats who participated in Nevada’s 2016 caucuses. Their votes, cast at sites anywhere in the county, had to be routed by the party back to each voter’s home precinct and added to the in-person votes cast Saturday by neighbors.

Buttigieg’s campaign claimed it received more than 200 reports of problems merging the early votes, including cases in which the early votes weren’t used, were read incorrectly or the wrong early vote data matching another precinct was used to calculate whether a candidate had enough support.

The claim matched that of a Biden campaign precinct captain who told The Associated Press he witnessed two precincts on Saturday where caucus organizers announced midway through that they had switched the vote numbers for the precincts, before switching them back and forth at least four times.

State party spokeswoman Molly Forgey said the Democrats were continuing to verify and report results and would not offer a more detailed breakdown than they already planned to provide.

“We laid out our early vote and Caucus Day processes step by step and we communicated these processes to all campaigns,” Forgey told Fox News. “We are continuing to verify and to report results. We never indicated we would release a separate breakdown of early vote and in-person attendees by precinct and will not change our reporting process now. As laid out in our recount guidance, there is a formal method for requesting a challenge of results.”


According to the party’s rules, any request for a recount must be filed by 5 p.m. Monday.

The Buttigieg campaign did not immediately comment on whether it intended to seek a recount.

Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich and The Associated Press contributed to this report.