Pete Buttigieg explains his decision to declare victory in contested Iowa Caucus

2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg explained his decision to declare victory in Monday's Iowa caucuses on "Morning Joe" Tuesday, despite the fact that the results are still in question, following the failure of the state's voting app.

"So 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 told a crowd of supporters. "Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious."

Co-host Willie Geist asked Buttigieg what he based his declaration on, and the former South Bend, Indiana mayor cited internal data as the campaign's main source of information.

"We were looking at the internal numbers that we had and beginning to realize that something extraordinary had happened last night," he replied. "I mean, here you have a campaign that was really questioned when we first got in, whether we even ought to be here. Whether we belonged in this race. And to not only establish that, but to reach the position that we did was a clear victory for this campaign."

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Geist asked if Buttigieg had any communication with the Iowa Democratic Party about his possible victory, but he said state officials have yet to share any pertinent information with the campaign.

"We don’t have anything from the party. At least nothing that you wouldn’t have heard as well," he said. "We saw that early trickle, but the thing about this, unlike a primary where there's a secret ballot, this is folks standing in the room for all to see, with their neighbors right there -- often with the press right there and with our own observers there.

"So that made it possible for us to get a very clear sense of just how extraordinary of a night it is and that’s what I wanted to share with our supporters who are just so charged up and so excited about this historic campaign."

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Buttigieg also said the votes that were cast have a paper trail, so the final outcome shouldn't be an issue. The problem is with the timing of the results, he claimed.

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"That's why that paper trail is so important. And again the thing that makes it possible to verify the caucus process is the entire thing takes place out in the open," he explained. "The frustration is the timing. The results will come in and I will trust the results, but we wanted to see those results last night so that we could address our supporters with a firm, official count in hand. Instead, we're waiting on the party to come through with those official numbers, and at the same time we know for the road ahead that we are arriving here with the extraordinary momentum of having beaten every expectation in the state of Iowa."

Buttigieg added, "That's why I was able to say with confidence that when we were getting on that plane, we were victorious."