Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg declared victory in the Iowa caucuses in the early hours of Tuesday morning, despite a botched election process that delayed the release of the state’s results.
“So, we don’t know all the results,” Buttigieg said in front of hundreds of supporters at a rally in Des Moines. “But, we know, by the time it is all said and done, Iowa you have shocked the nation. Because, by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
Data released later in the evening by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reflected 40% of precincts and appeared to show Buttigieg in second place, with about 26% share of state delegate equivalents, compared to about 29% for Sanders.
The confusion was caused by a lack of official results. The Iowa Democratic Party said late Monday night that they had found “inconsistencies” in the voting data which it attributed to a “reporting issue.” The party said it had the underlying data and “will simply take time to further report the results.”
In a statement in the early hours of the morning, Iowa Democrats Chair Troy Price said the results will be released later on Tuesday and the party is manually verifying its data.
Other candidates, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., also projected confidence in their election night speeches, though Buttigieg went the furthest in predicting his own success.
A Buttigieg campaign aide told CNBC that data provided by 77% of the campaign’s precinct captains showed Buttigieg in the lead. The campaign aide said that internal projections prior to the caucus suggested that the race would be a tie, but that the internal numbers so far showed Buttigieg performing 8 percentage points better than expected, enough to win first place.
Officials working for other campaigns said that the data suggested a tight race, in line with polling conducted ahead of the caucus.
A data set released by the Sanders campaign, based on the results from 40% of Iowa precincts, showed Sanders in the lead, followed by Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former Vice President Joe Biden. It showed Warren receiving about 18% share of state delegate equivalents, and Biden receiving about 15%.
Roger Lau, Warren’s campaign manager, told reporters only that according to the campaign’s internal data it was a tight race between Warren, Buttigieg and Sanders. Biden lagged in fourth place, Lau said.
Klobuchar’s campaign manager, Justin Buoen, wrote in a post on Twitter that, based on internal numbers and public data, Klobuchar was tied with or ahead of Biden. According to the Sanders data, Klobuchar was in 5th place, with about 11% share of state delegate equivalents.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Campaign manager Greg Schultz tweeted a statement that said the campaign’s model showed that the former vice president “overperformed in key districts we needed to be competitive in.”
The campaign’s general counsel, Dana Remus, issued a letter to Iowa Democratic Party officials on Monday calling for “full explanations and relevant information regarding the methods of quality control you are employing, and an opportunity to respond, before any official results are released.”
A strong showing for any of the candidates in Iowa could provide a boost as they turn their attention to New Hampshire, which hosts its primary on Feb. 11.
A weak showing could be particularly damaging to Biden, who is seen as the race’s front-runner and leads in national polls. Biden’s edge over Sanders in national polling has declined in recent weeks.