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Sanders declares victory in Iowa, calls counting problems 'an outrage'

·Senior Editor
·3 min read
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Sen. Bernie Sanders declared victory Thursday in the Iowa caucuses, despite the order by Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez for the state party to conduct a recount of Monday’s results.

“We won an eight-person election by some 6,000 votes. That is not going to be changed,” Sanders said at at news conference in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Sanders admitted that “at the end of the day” he and Pete Buttigieg “will end up with the same amount of delegates” from the contest.

Sanders was less charitable when he was asked about the problems tallying votes that arose Monday night when a smartphone app used in Iowa for the first time malfunctioned.

“What has happened with the Iowa Democratic Party is an outrage," Sanders said. He asserted that what happened on Monday night, both the reliance on “untested technology” as well as the caucus’s overly “complex process” was “never going to happen again.”

"That screwup 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,” Sanders added.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference at his New Hampshire headquarters on Thursday. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference at his New Hampshire headquarters on Thursday. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Roughly an hour before Sanders spoke, Perez announced his decision to order party officials in Iowa to recanvass the results of each precinct.

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The Iowa state party did not immediately respond to Perez but said in a statement that it is prepared to recanvass if a presidential campaign requests it. The deadline for such a request, according to the rules it set out before the caucuses, is noon Friday.

On Monday night, as the problems in tallying the results dragged on for hours, Buttigieg all but declared victory in the state.

"We don't know all the results," Buttigieg said in speech in Des Moines to his supporters, but "Iowa had shocked the nation" because his campaign was "going on to New Hampshire victorious."

Many of Sanders’s supporters criticized Buttigieg for what they saw as a premature victory lap. When asked Thursday why people should believe his declaration of victory over Buttigieg’s, Sanders responded “because I got 6,000 more votes.”

With 97 percent of the vote tallied in Iowa, Buttigieg narrowly leads Sanders in the awarding of state delegate equivalents, or S.D.E.’s., the measure used to declare a winner there. Sanders, however, leads Buttigieg in votes cast in both the first and realignment rounds. Inconsistent reporting of results by Iowa officials, however, have delayed their certification.

All of the candidates still seeking the Democratic nomination have been campaigning in New Hampshire since Monday, with that state’s primary set to take place on Tuesday.

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