Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed an Iowa victory three days after the election, despite official caucus results remaining up in the air.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg (D) are neck and neck; Buttigieg maintains an edge in the delegate count, but Sanders leads in the popular vote.
Despite the lack of official results, Sanders is proclaiming victory.
“What I want to do today, three days late, is to thank the people of Iowa for the very strong victory they gave us at the Iowa caucuses on Monday night,” Sanders said at his campaign headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday.
“When 6,000 more people come out for you in an election than your nearest opponent, we here in northern New England call that a victory,” he continued.
According to the most recent results, Sanders leads in the popular vote with 26.5 percent to Buttigieg’s 25 percent, but he trails his challenger by 0.1 percent in the delegate count:
So: With 97% of vote counted, Iowa caucus results are:
Sanders 44,753 26.5%
Buttigieg 42,235 25.0%
Warren 34,312 20.3%
Biden 23,051 13.7%
If no big changes in last 3 percent of vote, bottom line: Sanders won, Buttigieg did well, Warren OK, Biden bad, bad, bad. pic.twitter.com/lNNoj7KQ9T
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 6, 2020
Sanders eased concerns about his challenger holding the edge in the delegate count, calling it “meaningless” because “he and Buttigieg were both likely to receive the same number of national delegates,” the Washington Post reported.
“Those national delegates, not the state delegates, are the ones that really matter in the nominating process,” Sanders said.
“That screw-up has been extremely unfair to the people of Iowa. It has been unfair to the candidates —all of the candidates —and all of their supporters,” the socialist senator added.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Tom Perez broke his silence on Thursday, calling for state officials to recanvass the Iowa caucus vote.
“Enough is enough,” he wrote. “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.”
Iowa Democrats released a statement in response to Perez’s demand, writing, in part, “Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared”:
New statement from the @iowademocrats responding to @TomPerez. It seems to be pushing back on the idea that Perez can even request the recanvass. "Should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa Delegate Selection Plan request a recanvass, the IDP is prepared." pic.twitter.com/jVDlQXs5oJ
— Brianne Pfannenstiel (@brianneDMR) February 6, 2020