There are still no official results from Monday night’s Iowa caucus in the Democratic presidential race, but that didn't keep Pete Buttigieg from declaring victory, which he later backtracked on.
Buttigieg, the first openly gay Democratic presidential aspirant, tweeted Monday night that he was "headed to New Hampshire victorious," referring to the next state to vote in the contest. But no results had been released in Iowa due to technological problems.
The Buttigieg campaign released internal data Tuesday morning showing he had won 28 percent of the state delegate equivalents, with 75 percent of precincts reporting, Business Insider reports. But the candidate did walk back his claim of victory in an interview with MSNBC.
"We were looking at the internal numbers that we had and beginning to realize that something extraordinary had happened last night," he said. "Here you have a campaign that was really questioned when we got in for whether we even oughta be here, whether we belonged in this race. And to not only establish that, but to reach the position that we did was a clear victory for our campaign."
The other front-runners, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren, also expressed optimism. Sanders released internal numbers showing him winning the caucus, but he then acknowledged it was impossible to claim victory before official numbers were in.
The delay in reporting results originated with technology. For the first time, precinct captains were to use a smartphone app to report caucus results. But the app, according to the Iowa Democratic Party, reported only partial data. Precinct captains also said that when, as an alternative, they tried to call in results to party headquarters, they encountered endless busy signals or spent hours on hold.
The party now says it will release “the majority of results” Tuesday at 5 p.m. Eastern time.
Political observers and media painted the situation as a debacle that threatens Iowa’s status as the first state in the nation to hold a vote in the presidential contest. Derek Eadon, a former Iowa Democratic Party chairman, called it “a systemwide disaster,” The New York Times reports. Donald Trump crowed on Twitter about the problems with caucus reporting, saying he was the only winner.
Iowa Democratic officials defended the process. “As part of our investigation, we determined with certainty that the underlying data collected via the app was sound,” Troy Price, the state party chairman, told the Times. “While the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data. We have determined that this was due to a coding issue in the reporting system. This issue was identified and fixed.”
Some sources, however, said the app was not tested fully, and some precinct chairs didn’t even download it. The app was reportedly developed by a firm called Shadow, run by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and which has created an app for the upcoming Nevada caucus as well.
Several Democratic candidates addressed their Iowa supporters Monday night and tried to put a positive spin on the situation. But now most of them have moved on to New Hampshire, which will hold its primary a week from today.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.