His declaration came after Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., similarly told supporters that he won Iowa before moving onto New Hampshire’s primary.
“I want to thank the people of Iowa for the very strong victory they gave us at the Iowa caucuses on Monday night. Some 6,000 more Iowans came out to support us than any other candidate. With eight strong candidates competing, that is a decisive margin of victory,” Sanders wrote in a statement.
About 97 percent of Iowa precincts have now reported results, showing Buttigieg with 26.2 percent of state delegate equivalents as of 12:50 a.m. ET on Thursday. Sanders has 26.1 percent of the state delegate equivalents, although Sanders had support from 44,753 caucusgoers, which is a 2,518-vote lead over Buttigieg’s 42,235.
“These state delegate equivalents have greatly diminished importance from past caucuses. And they should,” Sanders told supporters New Hampshire. “In the past, a candidate with more delegates to the state and county conventions could actually change the number of national delegates … from that allocated on caucus night” but “that is no longer the case.”
The Iowa results were expected to be delivered on Monday night but were delayed when an app created by Shadow Inc., which was used by the Iowa Democratic Party, experienced problems. It caused each precinct to verify the results manually. Since then, the results from the caucuses have slowly trickled in, days after they were expected.
But after the announcement of the delay, Buttigieg told his supporters that he won, saying, “By all indications, we are going onto New Hampshire victorious.” The former mayor ‘s campaign later said he was citing internal campaign data.
Sanders, his supporters, and several other campaigns offered critical words for the state’s Democratic Party for the delay. Even President Donald Trump weighed in on the counting fracas, calling it an “unmitigated disaster.”
“The only person that can claim a very big victory in Iowa last night is ‘Trump,'” the president wrote early on Tuesday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) third with 18.2 percent of the total equivalents, former Vice President Joe Biden was in fourth-place with 15.8 percent, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was fifth with 12.2 percent of the equivalents.
Sanders told the Washington Examiner that he had questions following discrepancies in the vote count.
“I don’t know, I don’t think anybody knows. It turned out that in 2016, I think, Secretary Clinton got one or two more delegates than we got in the state process. There is some supposition that we actually won the popular vote, I can’t say definitively,” he said. “I can say definitively that in 2020, we did win the popular—now I want to reiterate do, so we’re clear, You got 180,000 people voting, when you got eight candidates, when you win the popular vote by 6000 votes, that is a pretty good victory.”
The confusion prompted Democratic National Committee chief Tom Perez to say that he has doubts about the figures that have been released so far. As a result, he has demanded a recanvass of the Iowa results.
“Enough is enough. In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results,” Perez wrote on Twitter. “I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”
A recanvassing of results mainly involves double-checking existing voting records. It differs from a recount, where a court orders a process that is more lengthy and rigorous.