By Mona Salama
Top Progressive lawmakers, all who are backers of 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are the latest to criticize Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, saying he needs to be “held accountable” for the enormous embarrassment in the Iowa vote-counting debacle.
“What’s happened in Iowa is a complete disgrace and someone needs to be held responsible,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) said in the Capitol on Friday.
She stopped short for calling on Perez to be ousted, saying a “a conversation needed around taking responsibility for Iowa and ensuring that this bungled process never happens again.”
Ocasio-Cortez fellow squad member, Rep. Ilhan Omar(D-MN) said Perez “should be held accountable” for what happened in Iowa.
“I would say Tom Perez should be held accountable for this failure,” Omar said. “I believe it all starts from the top. There are things that Tom should do and should have done. If this was happening in my home state, we would be having a serious conversation about what accountability would look like for our own chair.”
Co-chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, called the Iowa fiasco a “national embarrassment” that has already had serious consequences on the primary race. She said Sanders’s rival Buttigieg declared victory in Iowa with the official results still outstanding and managed to raise more than $2.5 million this week.
“I’m sure there is shared blame to go around. I don’t think we should blame just one person,” Jayapal said. “But Tom Perez is the head of the DNC, and I do think that there clearly was not the process in place to make sure all these [protocols] were going to be followed.”
The criticism of Perez followed a Twitter message the DNC leader posted Thursday, in which he blamed Iowa Democratic Party for the caucus problems.
“Enough is enough,” Perez tweeted. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
By Friday afternoon, The Associated Press had still not declared an official winner. Buttigieg is holding a narrow lead in state delegate equivalents (SDEs), which help decide how many delegates a candidate, while Sanders leads in the popular vote from both the “first alignment” and the “second alignment” phases of the caucuses.