Bernie Sanders Dismisses Concerns That Democrats Tried to Hurt Him in Iowa: 'That's Not My Impression'

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brushed aside concerns many of his supporters have raised about the Iowa caucuses fiasco, which some have suggested was a conspiracy to harm the Vermont senator's campaign.

The Iowa caucuses, which are traditionally the first time that voters actually formally cast their support behind presidential candidates every four years, took place last Monday. Although the results are usually released within a couple hours, they were delayed several days after an app that was supposed to streamline the reporting process malfunctioned, and was too complicated for many precincts to use.

Many Sanders supporters and surrogates suggested that the glitch was part of a concerted effort from the Democratic Party to mask the candidate's success in the state. The conspiracy concerns grew on social media as numerous errors and inconsistencies were reported, many of which appeared to disadvantage Sanders.

But when asked directly about the theory, Sanders dismissed it in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

"I have no idea and, you know, we're going to monitor the situation closely. But that's not my impression at this point," Sanders told CNN host Jake Tapper. However, he noted that there did appear to be an overall concerted effort from some within the Democratic establishment to discredit his campaign.

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders addresses the Democratic Party's 61st Annual McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club dinner at SNHU arena in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 8 JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty

"All I can tell you Jake, is what I think most Americans knows," he said. "We're taking on the entire establishment. We're taking on corporate America. We're taking on Trump and the Republican establishment. And there are a lot of people in the Democratic establishment who are not–to say the least–enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders."

"The incompetence there in Iowa was just extraordinary," he asserted, suggesting the problems with the caucus results were due to the app and human error.

According to the final Iowa results, which could still be challenged for a recount by any of the presidential contenders, Sanders received more than 2,600 more votes than former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend Indiana in the second realignment. But Buttigieg technically won the contest as he received 564 "state delegate equivalents" compared to Sanders' 562, or 0.1 percent more.

Under the current results, it appears Buttigieg will receive 13 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer, while Sanders will receive 12. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will be granted eight, former Vice President Joe Biden will receive six, and Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota will receive one.

Both Buttigieg and Sanders have claimed victory in Iowa, as the former South Bend mayor technically won with delegates while the Vermont senator was clearly the winner of the popular vote. Now all eyes are on New Hampshire ahead of the first primary of the 2020 election on Tuesday.

All the most recent polls in the eastern state suggest that Sanders is the front-runner going into the primary. An Emerson poll released this weekend has Sanders 10 points up, while a Boston Globe/Suffolk survey has the senator just two points ahead. Recent polls have shown Buttigieg making significant gains in New Hampshire, while Sanders has added a few points or remained steady.