Elizabeth Warren plays up ‘tight, three-way race’ in Iowa as she pivots to New Hampshire

KEENE, N.H. — Elizabeth Warren put on a show of bravado about her performance in Iowa as she swept into New Hampshire on Tuesday, calling it a “tight, three-way race at the top” despite lagging nearly 7 points behind Bernie Sanders and nearly 9 points behind front-runner Pete Buttigieg as results dribbled out of the Democratic Iowa caucus debacle.

“It’s a tight, three-way race at the top. We know the three of us will be dividing up most of the delegates coming out of Iowa,” Warren said, referring to herself, the Vermont U.S. senator and the former South Bend, Ind., mayor.

“I’m feeling good,” she told the crowd of 475 gathered at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, N.H., late Tuesday morning.

Later that afternoon, after a nearly 24-hour delay due to technical issues, the Iowa Democratic Party released caucus results from 62% of precincts that showed Buttigieg at 26.9% and Sanders at 25.1%, with Warren trailing in third at 18.3%, ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden at 15.6%.

In Keene, before the party released the incomplete results, Warren said, “I think they ought to get it together and release all of the data.”

Yet she still went ahead with telling voters and reporters that she expected to snag delegates in a three-way race based on “consistent data.”

The Massachusetts senator faces an uphill battle in the neighboring Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary, where recent polls have shown her significantly behind Sanders and trailing Biden as well. The latest Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald-NBC10Boston poll showed Warren with 17% support, well behind Biden’s 24% and Sanders’ 31% in New Hampshire, with Buttigieg trailing at 8%.

Warren made her pitch in part by reminding voters that she’s “the only one in this race who has beaten an incumbent Republican in the past 30 years,” a reference to her 2012 defeat of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

Supporters said they hoped for a good finish in Iowa that could help boost Warren in New Hampshire.

Carlie Fischer, a Keene Democrat, said, “With sexism so alive and well, with everyone so focused on electability, it’s really helpful when female candidates do well. I think it could help her, but I wish it could be different.”

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