Amid Iowa caucus chaos, Pete Buttigieg claims victory and shrugs off criticism
After Monday night's caucus difficulties left Democrats in Iowa and around the country confused and frustrated, candidate Pete Buttigieg expressed confidence that he was "victorious." He and several other 2020 Democrats left Iowa for New Hampshire overnight to begin campaigning for next week's primary after several of them also expressed optimism in their own results.
Buttigieg's confident claim gave rise to the Twitter hashtag #MayorCheat after he gave a victory speech despite the chaos over the final results. When asked if he perhaps made the call prematurely, Buttigieg shrugged off criticism.
"Looking at what happened last night, looking at all of the data that we've got, it was an extraordinary night and we are absolutely victorious coming into New Hampshire," he said.
"I think it's safe to say no one in the country is more impatient than I am to hear the official results of the party," Buttigieg told "CBS This Morning" from Concord, New Hampshire. "But we've also put out the results that we've got from over 1,200 districts. Our precinct organization reported based on a procedure that they were trained to do, and based off that it was a phenomenal night for us."
Buttigieg said that his organization found he had picked up votes in counties won by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ranging from rural to urban, adding that he and his team "absolutely consider that a victory" in a climate where appealing to a wide base is crucial.
Iowa's Democratic party had called an emergency Monday night meeting among the campaigns to discuss the problems with the caucus, though the former South Bend mayor said that no official timeline was given for a solution.
"What we do know is that there's a paper trail, that they'll be verifying this based on paper and given whatever happened technically, that's good news," he added.
Buttigieg still claimed to have faith in the caucus process despite the technical difficulties. "Folks are in the room, they see how everybody aligned, so it's verifiable but still very, very frustrating."
Some fear the chaos that ensues from Democrats bickering over who won the caucus would hand President Trump a narrative that the party is unorganized. According to Buttigieg, the clash is just a part of the primary race.
"We are competing, and you're going to see that competition play out," he said. "But what we all know and all agree on are the values that bring all of us together, and the absolute need to deliver a new and better presidency."
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