Iowa releases 62% of caucus results after delay with former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg taking early lead

The Iowa Democratic Party has begun releasing partial results of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus, following a day of doubt and delays.

The data, made public for the first time nearly 24 hours after voting concluded, reflected the results of 62% of precincts in the state.

The partial results show former Indiana mayor PeteButtigieg ahead on 26.9%, followed by Bernie Sanders on 25.1%.

Elizabeth Warren was third on 18.3% and Joe Biden fourth on 15.6%.

But the state party has still not declared a winner in Monday's vote.

Pete Buttigieg appeared to be the early leader. Credit: AP

While campaigns were eager to spin the results to their advantage, there was little immediate indication that the incomplete results eased the confusion and concern that loomed over the opening contest of the Democrats 2020 presidential primary season.

It was unclear when Iowa’s full results would be released.

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price. Credit: AP

During a private conference call with campaigns earlier in the day, state party chairman Troy Price declined to answer pointed questions about the specific timeline – even whether it would be a matter of days or weeks.

“We have been working data and night to make sure these results are accurate,” Mr Price said at a subsequent press conference.

The Party also said it had verified the accuracy of the collected data and said the problem was not a result of “a hack or an intrusion”.

The leading candidates pressed on in next-up New Hampshire, which votes in just seven days, as billionaire Democrat Michael Bloomberg sensed opportunity, vowing to double his already massive advertising campaign and expand his sprawling staff focused on a series of delegate-rich states voting next month.

The party’s caucus crisis was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting the contest as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled field with no clear front-runner.

Instead, after a build-up that featured seven rounds of debates, nearly one billion US dollars spent nationwide and a year of political jockeying, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.

Iowa marked the first contest in a primary season that will span all 50 states and several US territories, ending at the party’s national convention in mid-July.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Senator Warren said she was “feeling good” about her performance in Iowa but questioned the state party’s plans to release partial results.

“I just don’t understand what that means, at least half of the data.

"I think they ought to get it together and release all the data,” she said.

While earlier on Tuesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign was declaring victory, so too was Mr Buttigieg's.

“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,” the former two-time mayor of South Bend said before leaving Iowa.

“By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”