Buttigieg defends declaring victory in Iowa
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg defended his decision to basically declare victory in Iowa on Monday night despite the lack of firm results, telling MSNBC that his internal numbers justified the decision.
“We were looking at the internal numbers we had and beginning to realize something extraordinary happened last night,” Buttigieg said Tuesday morning on MSNBC in response to a question about what he based his victory speech on.
In a series of interviews on morning shows, Buttigieg doubled down on what he saw as a strong display for his campaign, while acknowledging that the official results have not yet been announced.
.@WillieGeist asks Pete Buttigieg about the basis for his victory declaration:
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 4, 2020
Buttigieg also did not claim to have officially won the caucuses, but rather highlighted the success of his campaign that was seen as a long shot when he first announced as a relatively unknown politician on the national stage.
“We’re going to hear the official results, and again that can’t come soon enough, but what we saw and what our precinct information revealed … is we have the momentum and stepped on that plane victorious,” Buttigieg said Tuesday on CNN.
Buttigieg said that based on his campaign’s internal numbers he performed well across a variety of areas, including rural, suburban and urban parts of Iowa, as well as winning areas that voted for President Trump and areas that typically sway Democratic.
“This is really the first proof point for how we’re building the campaign that’s ultimately going to go on and defeat Trump,” Buttigieg said on MSNBC. “I’m more convinced than ever that the way to do that is building a coalition through addition, inviting people in, not shutting people out, and I think that approach served us very well last night with these extraordinary outcomes.”
Buttigieg also said that the public process of a caucus gives a better idea of where Democrats stood on Monday night.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, however, is questioning the integrity of the process amid the issues and delay.
Biden’s campaign general counsel wrote a letter calling for answers and a “full explanation.”
Biden is believed to have performed poorly in the caucuses. Other candidates have all suggested that Biden did poorly based on their own numbers.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) campaign also essentially declared victory, releasing results to its supporters that showed him ahead of the other candidates.