Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are taking the lead in the Iowa caucuses, the first vote to choose the Democratic candidate to run against President Donald Trump in November’s election.
The vote has been chaotic, beset by technical problems and delays in reporting results.
According to Iowa’s Democratic Party, data from 71% of precincts showed Pete Buttigieg on 26.8%, with Bernie Sanders on 25.2%.
Elizabeth Warren was third on 18.4% and Joe Biden fourth on 15.4%.
According to the other preliminary results released on February 4 from all of Iowa’s 99 counties, Amy Klobuchar was on 12.6%, and Andrew Yang on 1%. Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard were on less than 1%.
However, the state party has still not declared a winner from February 3 vote. Democrats have blamed the delay on a coding error with an app being used for the first time to report the votes.
Iowa was the first contest in a string of nationwide state-by-state votes, known as primaries and caucuses, that will culminate in the crowning of a Democratic nominee at the party convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in July.
Eleven candidates remain in a Democratic field that has already been whittled down from more than two dozen.
The results represent the share of delegates needed to clinch the party nomination under America’s quirky political system. Iowa awards only 41 of the 1,991 delegates required to become the Democratic White House nominee.
In the popular vote count, partial results showed Bernie Sanders leading with 32,673 ballots, while Pete Buttigieg was second at 31,353.
However, Pete Buttigieg, 38, came top in certain rural areas with smaller populations, and so far has more delegates.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price told a news conference on February 4 the fiasco had been “simply unacceptable”.
“I apologize deeply for this,” he said of the turmoil, which has provoked calls for Iowa to lose its coveted spot atop the presidential voting calendar.
“This was a coding error,” Troy Price said, while insisting the data was secure and promising a thorough review.
Elizabeth Warren was third with 25,692, followed by Joe Biden at 16,447 and Amy Klobuchar at 15,470.
State party officials earlier said the problem was not the result of “a hack or an intrusion”.
Officials were being dispatched across the Hawkeye state to retrieve hard-copy results.
They were matching those numbers against results reported via a mobile app that many precinct captains said had crashed.
The mobile app was developed by tech firm Shadow Inc., run by veterans of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign.
The app was put together in just two months and had not been independently tested, the New York Times reported, quoting people briefed on the matter by the Iowa Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party in Nevada, where caucuses will be held on February 22, has reversed a decision to use the company’s software.
Voters flocked on February 3 to more than 1,600 caucus sites, including libraries, high schools and community centers.
President Trump said earlier that the Iowa Democratic caucuses had been an “unmitigated disaster”.
If elected, Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay US president.
The 38-year-old is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of just over 100,000 people.
Pete Buttigieg is a former Harvard and Oxford University Rhodes scholar, who served as a military intelligence officer in Afghanistan and used to work for global management consultancy McKinsey.
Rivals say Pete Buttigieg, who is younger than Macaulay Culkin and Britney Spears, is too inexperienced to be US president.