The partial Iowa caucus results reveal Pete Buttigieg with a narrow lead over Bernie Sanders in terms of delegates and the Vermont senator winning the popular vote — both by small margins. Amid the chaos, reports pinned the blame for the delay on an app created by developer Shadow, and some pointed to its allegedly close relationship with liberal firm ACRONYM.
In a recent report for The Intercept, Lee Fang spotlights ACRONYM, which is run by high-profile Democratic operative Tara McGowan. He notes that she is married to Michael Halle, a senior strategist with the Buttigieg campaign.
Fang reported that a person with knowledge of ACRONYM’s company culture — who remained anonymous — claims that some of the company’s top employees “regularly expressed hostility to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s supporters.”
The Intercept writer also notes that ACRONYM appears to have removed portions of its website that speak of its relationship with Shadow, including a now-deleted blog post from Gerard Niemira, who McGowan described as the latter company’s CEO.
“ACRONYM is thrilled to announce the launch of Shadow, a new technology company that will exist under the ACRONYM umbrella and build accessible technological infrastructure and tools to enable campaigns to better harness, integrate and manage data across the platforms and technologies they all use.”
Although Fang wrote that there is no evidence that candidate preference has any connection to the stalled Iowa results, Buttigieg’s declaration of early victory and his campaign’s reported $42,500 purchase of Shadow’s software-related services last July have raised eyebrows.
Per the Los Angeles Times, Buttigieg’s campaign claims that the payment went toward a service used to communicate with voters via text message. Interestingly, Joe Biden’s campaign also reportedly hired Shadow for text messaging services valued at $1,225 the same month.
“Shadow was launched by former staffers to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, including Niemira, Krista Davis, Ahna Rao, and James Hickey, according to professional biographies listed on LinkedIn,” the report from The Intercept reads, adding that the company had yet to comment on the matter.
No wonder Pete Buttigieg believes he won the Iowa Caucus, he was supposed to win.— Paul Sacca (@Paul_Sacca) February 4, 2020
The DNC Caucus app is made by Shadow, which is owned by ACRONYM, a progressive organization that provides tech for Democrats. It was founded by Tara McGowan, a former employee of the Obama campaign pic.twitter.com/c6XcNYbVw3
Many noted on social media that McGowan, who, per Fox Business, is a former staffer from Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, expressed excitement for Buttigieg’s announcement that he was running for president. Journalist Walter Bragman, who said he believes the recent delay is due to “human error and incompetence,” nevertheless commented on the bad optics of the situation.
“Not great optics here, folks,” he said, before noting that the Buttigieg campaign paid Shadow and the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s decision to declare early victory.
Regardless, Buttigieg is in a good position from the currently released results, which cover 62 percent of the vote. Individually, the former mayor has won 26.9 percent of Iowa’s delegates thus far, while Sanders has won 25.1 percent.