Bernie Sanders declared victory in the Iowa caucuses, despite being essentially tied with Pete Buttigieg as the count was still ongoing.
Speaking at an event in New Hampshire, the Vermont senator criticized the Iowa Democratic Party’s handling of the delayed caucus results as “unfair.”
“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 caucus,” he said.
With 97% of the results counted, only one-tenth of a percentage point separates the two candidates. Buttigieg has 26.2%, Sanders 26.1%, Elizabeth Warren was in third place with 18.2% and former Vice President Joe Biden had 15.8%.
Sanders argued that the final results of the caucus won’t matter much because he and Buttigieg will end up with the same number of delegates to the national convention.
“Who inches ahead in the end is meaningless,” he said.
Sanders’ speech struck a contrast with Buttigieg, who also essentially declared victory on the night of the caucuses when he said that his campaign was “headed to New Hampshire victorious” even though no results had been released at the time.
The caucus results were delayed Monday night due to problems with an app used to report results as well as a hotline used to call in results. A top Iowa Democrat said that supporters of Donald Trump flooded the line with calls, delaying the tally.
(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
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