- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 6, 2020

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont on Thursday claimed a win in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, touting a “decisive victory” in the popular vote with nearly all precincts reporting.

Mr. Sanders said that with nearly all precincts reporting, he won about 6,000 more supporters on the “first alignment” of caucusing and ended up about 2,500 in front of former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg after the second and final realignment of the night.

“What certainly is not going to change is the fact that in terms of the popular vote, we won a decisive victory,” he told reporters in Manchester, N.H. “When 6,000 more people come out for you in an election than your nearest opponent, we here in Northern New England call that a victory.”

He downplayed the significance of the “state delegate equivalent” tally, which the party had emphasized to the media was the most accurate way to report the results from the caucuses.

But Mr. Sanders said that at the end of the day he and Mr. Buttigieg will likely end up winning the same number of delegates to the Democratic National Convention based on the results.

Since Monday evening, Mr. Buttigieg has portrayed the results as a win for him as he held a narrow lead over Mr. Sanders in projected SDEs.

“By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious,” Mr. Buttigieg told supporters in Des Moines on Monday.

At a Wednesday fundraiser in New York City, Mr. Buttigieg said: “There is just no question that Monday in Iowa represents an astonishing victory for our vision, for our candidacy and for this country.”

Asked why his victory claim was more legitimate than Mr. Buttigieg’s, Mr. Sanders said because he got more votes.

“And from where I come, when you got 6,000 more votes that’s generally regarded to be the winner,” he said.

In a change from past years, the state party planned to release the raw preference totals from the first round, the totals from the second and final “alignment,” and the number of state delegate equivalents.

The changes were made in part after a 2016 caucus process that saw Mr. Sanders come agonizingly close to defeating Hillary Clinton and complaints from some of his supporters that a reporting of the initial raw vote totals could have given his campaign a bigger boost.

Mr. Sanders spoke shortly after Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called for a re-canvass of the Iowa results, following a process that was marred by significant delays in reporting the totals.

There was mass confusion across the state on Monday as local party officials tried and failed to relay their results to the state party in Des Moines.

“I really do feel bad for the people of Iowa,” Mr. Sanders said. “I think what has happened with the Iowa Democratic Party is an outrage — that they were that unprepared, that they put forth such a complicated process, relied on untested technology.”

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