Pete Buttigieg may have claimed victory in Iowa but who is the ex-serviceman vying for the Democrat candidacy?

Democrat candidate Pete Buttigieg has claimed victory in the Iowa caucus, even though none of the votes have been reported, but who is the 38-year-old hoping to become the next president of the US?

Mr Buttigieg is the first openly LGBT candidate to make a serious pitch for the presidency.

Born in South Bend, Indiana, he still lives in his hometown and is the city's former-two term mayor.

The 38-year-old did not run for re-election in 2019, and left office at the beginning of January to focus his time on attempting to become the Democrats' presidential candidate.

Pete Buttigieg, helping his mum Anne Montgomery join him on stage with husband Chasten. Credit: AP

If Buttigieg is elected he would be the youngest and first openly gay American president.

An advocate of progressive politics, he supports abortion rights, has ambitious plans to combat climate change - including doubling clean electricity energy in the US by 2025 - supports Supreme Court structural reform and promotes a public option for health insurance.

Mr Buttigieg is a novice in terms of national politics but has proved a fundraising phenomenon.

The ex-serviceman is often introduced on stage by his husband Chasten.

Buttigieg is an advocate of progressive politics. Credit: AP

The son of Joseph Buttigieg, a first-generation immigrant from Malta, and Anne Montgomery, a fifth-generation Hoosier - a native of Indiana state.

The former mayor left his small hometown for Harvard University, where he studied history and literature.

After securing a Rhodes scholarship, he went on to he study philosophy, politics and economy at Pembroke College, Oxford.

He returned to the Midwest after graduating and worked as a McKinsey consultant, but left to serve as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve.

In 2011, Mr Buttigieg ran for and was elected mayor of South Bend and during his first term, he took a seven-month leave of absence to deploy to Afghanistan.

He served as a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve and returned to America in September 2014.

In 2014, Mr Buttigieg announced he would run for a second term as mayor of South Bend and was elected with more than 80% of the vote.

His first entry into national politics was in 2017, when he ran, unsuccessfully, for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr Buttigieg officially announced his bid for the presidency in April 2019 in South Bend.

He told supporters at his launch event: “The horror show in Washington is mesmerising, all-consuming.

"But starting today, we are going to change the channel.

"Sometimes a dark moment brings out the best in us, what is good in us, dare I say, what is great in us.”