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DNC chairman says he won’t step down after chaotic Iowa caucuses

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, file photo, Tom Perez speaks before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, in Westerville, Ohio. The Democratic National Committee is increasing pressure on its presidential candidates to commit to campaign actively for the party's nominee in 2020. The unity push from Chairman Perez is part of a wide-ranging voter outreach strategy designed to prevent the mistakes that cost Democrats the 2016 presidential election. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(CNN) — Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Sunday that he has no intention of stepping down following criticism over the chaotic Iowa contest, but that there will be a discussion about the state’s status as the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

“Absolutely not,” Perez told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of The Union” when asked if he has considered resigning. “Jake, look at the last three years. My job when I came in was to rebuild our infrastructure, to win elections. When you do that, sometimes you have to make tough decisions.”

He continued, “We have been winning. This is what it’s about. I think it’s really important for people to take a broader step back right now.”

Democrats have criticized a cascading series of problems in Iowa — including difficulties getting through on the phone to report results after precinct officials had trouble with the app — that led the state Democratic Party to hold off on releasing results on Monday night, and some have gone as far as to call for Perez to resign. Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one to call for him to step down, telling WMUR News 9 on Sunday, “Ultimately this is a failure of leadership, and I think the DNC chair Tom Perez should resign.”

Confusion in the caucuses left Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg each claiming victory in Iowa, with Buttigieg holding a slim lead over Sanders in the caucuses with 100% precincts reporting. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor leads the Vermont senator by one-tenth of one percentage point in the all-important state delegate equivalent count.

The presidential campaigns for Buttigieg, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren submitted their respective evidence of inconsistencies from the caucuses count to the Iowa Democratic Party.

The Iowa Democratic Party announced on Saturday that it was reviewing reports of irregularities from 95 precincts — 5% of the total 1,765 precincts in the state. The party said in a statement that they had already initiated the process and that the possible corrections will be made public by noon Central (1 p.m. ET) Monday — before the party officially allocates how many delegates the campaigns will get from Iowa.

Perez has called for a recanvass of the results and on Sunday said there will “absolutely” be a future conversation about the state’s status as the first stop in the Democratic nominating process.

“Well, that’s the conversation that will absolutely happen after this election cycle, and after the last election cycle we had a conversation about two really important things: Super delegate reform and the primary caucus issue that we’re discussing now,” he said. “And that’s going to happen again.”