DES MOINES, IA – A lack of results in the Iowa caucuses didn’t stop the upper tier of the Democratic presidential candidates from pre-emptively declaring a strong finish and moving on to New Hampshire.
As the political world waited Monday night for hard numbers in the state that kicks off the presidential nominating calendar – the Iowa Democratic Party was dealing with a debacle – saying they had found “inconsistencies in the reporting” of the results from caucus precincts across the state.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign took aim at the pending results – questioning the veracity of the eventual final numbers. And Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign released their own incomplete numbers early Tuesday morning – which showed Sanders leading his rivals.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of neighboring Minnesota was the first of the White House contenders to come out and tout her momentum coming out of Iowa.
“We are feeling good tonight,” she emphasized. “We know one thing, we are punching above our weight.”
“All I can say is we are here and we are strong,” stressed Klobuchar – who needed a strong finish in Iowa to boost her bid for the Democratic nomination. “We are now ready to head to New Hampshire”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts started her speech by noting “it’s too close to call.”
But the progressive senator who’s seen her poll numbers decline the past couple of months declared that “tonight we are one step closer to winning the fight for the America we imagine is possible.”
And the senator spotlighted that “we are built for the long haul.”
Pete Buttigieg – who also needed a strong finish in Iowa to help propel his campaign – went a step further than his rivals – by declaring victory.
“So we don’t know the results. But we know. By the time it’s all said and done, you have shocked, the nation,” the former South Bend, Indiana mayor told his supporters. “Because by all indications. We are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
Biden emphasized in his speech that “it looks like it’s going to be a long night but I’m feeling good!”
“From our indication, it’s going to be close and we’re going to walk out of here with our share of delegates. We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but we feel good about where we are. So it’s on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and beyond. We’re in this for the long haul,” the former vice president stressed.
But Biden raised concerns with the pending results, saying “the Iowa Democratic Party’s working to get this result, to get them straight, and I want to make sure they’re very careful in their deliberations.”
Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield went a step further, warning on Twitter that “the integrity of the process is critical, and there were flaws in the reporting systems tonight that should raise serious concerns for voters.”
And a fundraising email seemed to downplay the eventual Iowa results, reminding supporters to “remember it’s not about tonight, but about the whole campaign. And I need your help to do it.
Political pundits suggested that the Biden campaign – worried that the final results will be disappointing for the former vice president – were pre-emptively downplaying the eventual numbers and questioning their veracity.
Sanders – considered to be in the lead in Iowa according to the final public opinion surveys – told supporters that “I imagine, I have a strong feeling at some point the results will be announced and when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa.”
A couple of hours after the populist senator from Vermont spoke, his campaign released internal reporting numbers which they said represented the results from nearly 40 percent of the caucus precincts in Iowa.
“We recognize that this does not replace the full data from the Iowa Democratic Party, but we believe firmly that our supporters worked too hard for too long to have the results of that work delayed,” senior adviser Jeff Weaver said.
The Sanders campaign figures indicted the populist senator from Vermont at 30 percent, Buttigieg at 25 percent, Warren at 21 percent, Biden at 12 percent and Klobuchar at 11 percent