No winner? No problem. Candidates give victory-like speeches in Iowa sans results

Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, at a caucus night campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 2020. Copyright John Locher AP
By Adam Edelman with NBC News Politics
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The speeches added to the disarray in Iowa late Monday amid major delays in the reporting of results of the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses.


DES MOINES, Iowa — Amid prolonged delays in the reporting of results from the Iowa caucuses, there are still no numbers, and no winner.

And yet, a number of Democratic candidates took the stage at their respective campaign headquarters to deliver speeches late Monday night that very closely resembled declarations of victory as they vowed to push on to the next nominating contest in New Hampshire and beyond.

The speeches — by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — were the latest act in an unprecedented and bizarre series of events on Iowa’s Democratic caucus night.

The speeches added to the chaos in Iowa late Monday after the state Democratic Party said it found "inconsistencies" in the reporting of results and some election workers encountered issues with a new results app.

Buttigieg was the latest to speak, but came the closest to declaring outright victory, despite there being zero results.

"We don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa you have shocked the nation," he said.

“By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious,” he added, prompting chants of “Pete.”

Biden, who was the second to speak, said his campaign was also moving on to New Hampshire — even though there were no results.

"From our indications, it's going to be close, we are going to walk out of here with our share of delegates. We don't know exactly what it is yet, but we feel good about where we are," Biden said.

He then announced that his campaign would be “on to New Hampshire. Nevada, South Carolina. And well beyond” and that “we are in this for the long haul."

Klobuchar was the first candidate to come out and speak. And she exuded optimism — even though there were no numbers to back it up or refute it.

“We know there’s delays, but we know one thing: we are punching above our weight,” she told a cheering crowd of supporters in a televised address. “We are feeling so good tonight.”

Warren, in her own speech, said that the race was “too close to call” but that “we are one step closer to defeating the most corrupt president in American history. The race is too early to call, according to NBC News.

Sanders, speaking at his election headquarters in Des Moines, said he has a "good feeling" that the results would be favorable.

“I have a strong feeling that at some point the results will be announced. And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling we’re going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa,” Sanders told an enthusiastic crowd.

Sanders' speech was largely the victory speech he had planned, but "with modifications,” a senior Sanders aide told NBC News.

The aide said the campaign chose to give the speech before results in order to take advantage of the window of media attention.

John Locher
Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, at a caucus night campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 2020.John Locher

Yang also spoke at his headquarters at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.


“I got to say, I’m a numbers guy and I’m still waiting on number for tonight," he told his supporters.

The delays in the reporting of the results Monday night caused widespread confusion, and some election workers struggled with the new app.

By 1 a.m. ET, no results had been reported.

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