Four of the Democrats who skipped the Iowa caucuses argued today that the chaos that has played out in the first nominating state validates their decision.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard all skipped Iowa for their own reasons, with the most common being that they lacked the support and money to truly compete in the caucus process.
But as results failed to trickle in on last night and into this morning, the different candidates saw validation in the chaos.
“It goes without saying, the events of last night validated our New Hampshire-first approach,” Daniel Barash, Bennet’s campaign manager, wrote in a memo to the senator’s supporters and obtained by CNN.
Bennet has focused squarely on New Hampshire, hoping that a surprising finish in the state will give his campaign life.
“While chaos emerged in Iowa last night, Michael was in New Hampshire holding a town hall and talking to voters,” Barash wrote in the memo that defended the senator’s decision to pivot to New Hampshire over the fall.
“The Iowa caucus was bound to result in a muddled narrative, both because it took place amidst Super Bowl Sunday, the State of the Union, and the impeachment trial, and because it would present multiple “winners” for the first time in history due to new state party rules,” Barash concluded.
Patrick is in a similar position to Bennet, with both Democrats hoping to surprise in New Hampshire.
"One candidate is calling the results into question because he apparently didn’t do well. Another is declaring victory without any votes being confirmed,” Patrick said about the Iowa chaos. “The way to beat Donald Trump isn’t to act like Donald Trump. Our party and our country deserve better."
Gabbard, who spent much of the time in the run up to Iowa in New Hampshire, that, “Thousands of people turned out to cast the first votes of this presidential primary in the Iowa Caucuses last night. Unfortunately, the voices of the people of Iowa have yet to be heard as the vote count continues, leaving voters frustrated and without the transparency and integrity in this process that they expect and deserve.”
“Now our attention turns to New Hampshire,” Gabbard said.
And then there is Bloomberg, who is ignoring the first four states all together and has decided, instead, to commit his massive wealth toward competing in the Super Tuesday and beyond states.
Bloomberg met with his senior leadership team this morning to discuss the chaos in Iowa and subsequently authorized his team to double the amount they are spending on television during that meeting, according to multiple Bloomberg aides.
“Tonight’s confusion is an unfortunate distraction from Democrats’ most important task this year — beating Donald Trump,” Bloomberg’s spokesman Jason Schechter tweeted on Monday night. “Tomorrow Mike will be in Michigan and Pennsylvania continuing to focus on sending Trump packing this November.”
All four of these candidates face significant challenges in the coming weeks, especially Bennet, Patrick and Gabbard, all of whom need to prove they can be electorally viable. But Iowa’s dysfunction has allowed them – at least for now – to claim a small win.