People are wrongly making Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager the villain of the Iowa caucus (updated)

Everyone's mad at Robby Mook.

Feb 3, 2020, 10:27 pm

Tech

David Covucci 

David Covucci

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Tonight is the Iowa caucus, and the results are… not in.

Hours after the caucuses ended and totals were supposedly sent in, the Iowa Democratic Party has not announced a winner.

Although the delay was initially pegged to “quality control,” further reports found that caucus leaders were struggling to report results with a new app designed for the vote and that it may not be working properly.

“There are now reports that the app that caucus leaders are using to report Iowa results isn’t working. Nobody knows who owns the app and there were major security concerns,” wrote Forensic News Scott Stedman.

That news was confirmed by Bloomberg’s Tyler Page.

It’s not clear what the problems might be, but one thing is known. People are upset with Robbie Mook, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager.

Mook’s name has repeatedly come up in the evening in the wake of the reported failures.

However, in a statement, the Iowa Democratic Party said the delays were a result of the reporting inconsistencies and not the app.

“The app did not go down,” said IDP Communications Director Mandy McClure.

But Mook, who received outsized ignominy for being behind Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 strategy, worked with the team who made the app, according to the Des Moines Register, focusing on dealing with misinformation.

Both parties in Iowa and their app and web development vendors partnered last fall with Harvard’s Defending Digital Democracy Project to develop strategies and systems to protect results and deal with any misinformation that’s reported on caucus night.

 

They worked with campaign experts Robby Mook and Matt Rhodes — as well as experts in cybersecurity, national security, technology and election administration — and simulated the different ways that things could go wrong on caucus night.

 

Mook, 2016 campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, and Rhodes, Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign manager, helped develop a public-service video to alert campaigns to the warning signs of hacking and misinformation.

Defending Democracy is a project Mook launched to help protect elections from cyberattacks. In their announcement, the Iowa Democratic Party said the delays also have nothing to do with a hack.

Mook said Defending Democracy is: “Providing election administrators, election infrastructure providers, and campaign organizations with practical ‘playbooks’ to improve their cybersecurity.”

In a tweet, after people were repeatedly tagging him on Twitter, Mook said he had nothing to do with the app.

“Sorry, folks. I did NOT have anythjng to do with building the Iowa caucus app. I dont know anything about it, had no role in it, and dont own a company that makes mobile appa. Please contact @iowademocrats with questions about it,” he wrote.

While reporters have said Mook had nothing specifically to do with the app, he was nonetheless getting savaged by people online for the delay.

 

There is currently no timetable for results in Iowa.

Correction: This post has been updated to clarify Mook’s role with the Iowa app. He consulted with the team behind it but did not design it.

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Last updated Feb 4, 2020, 6:41 am