With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is leading in the Iowa caucuses.

The nation's first presidential contest has been plagued with reporting issues blamed on a faulty app used by the Iowa Democratic Party.

More than 24 hours after doors closed, the party began releasing results.

As of Wednesday morning, Buttigieg was leading with 27 percent of state delegate equivalents, followed by Sanders with 25 percent. Rounding out the top five are Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (18%), former Vice President Joe Biden (15%), Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (13%).

FiveThirtyEight's Nathaniel Rakish explained how Buttigieg and Sanders had split the vote.

“That split result is happening because Buttigieg is doing well in rural counties, which have a lot of delegates relative to their population, and Sanders ran up big margins in urban areas and college towns, which punch a bit below their weight in terms of delegates,” he wrote.

At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Buttigieg, who is gay, became emotional in responding to the results so far out of Iowa.

“It validates for a kid somewhere in a community wondering if he belongs or she belongs or they belong in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country, there is a lot backing up the belief,” Buttigieg told a crowd in Laconia.

Fred Karger, the nation's first openly gay candidate for president, congratulated Buttigieg on his possible victory.

“With the final results from last night's wild and woolly Iowa Caucuses still pending, it sure looks like my candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg will finish in first place or a very close second place,” he said. “Pete's momentum coming off this huge win in Iowa is reminiscent of Barack Obama's victory there 12 years ago.”