A FORMER Oxford resident is officially in the running to become the first gay President of the United States.

Pete Buttigieg, who went to Oxford University, came out ontop of an early candidate vote alongside Bernie Sanders, whose brother Larry Sanders lives in Oxford and once stood as a Parliamentary candidate for the city.

The vote was the famous Iowa caucus - the first vote by the Democratic Party for its Presidential candidate.

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The results followed 24 hours of chaos as technical issues marred the contest, forcing state officials to apologise and raising questions about Iowa's traditional place at the top the presidential primary calendar.

Mr Buttigieg, a former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, won a Rhodes Scholarship grant to study at Oxford University in 2004.

Having studied history and literature at Harvard University, he came to Oxford to enrol on the famous philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) course which has long been a favourite of future politicians.

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He was a member of Pembroke College, and during his time at Oxford became an editor of the Oxford International Review magazine. He was also a co-founder and member of the Democratic Renaissance Project, 'an informal debate and discussion group of about a dozen Oxford students'.

In 2007, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with first-class honours in PPE and moved back to the states to take a job as a consultant at the Chicago office of management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.

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While an official winner of the Iowa caucus has not yet been declared, Massachusetts Sen Elizabeth Warren, former vice president Joe Biden and Minnesota Sen Amy Klobuchar were trailing in the tally of State Delegate Equivalents, according to data released for the first time by the state Democratic Party nearly 24 hours after voting concluded.

The results reflected 62% of precincts in the state.

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Bernie Sanders.

Mr Buttigieg, 38, has now become the first openly gay candidate to earn presidential primary delegates.

His early strength reflects his aggressive political pursuit of rural and small-town voters, including some Republicans, who prefer a more moderate approach to address the nation's political problems.

Mr Buttigieg said: "We don't know all of the numbers, but we know this much: A campaign that started a year ago with four staff members, no name recognition, no money, just a big idea - a campaign that some said should have no business even making this attempt, has taken its place at the front of this race."

While campaigns were eager to spin the results to their advantage, there was little immediate indication that the incomplete results erased the confusion and concern that loomed over the Iowa contest. It was unclear when the full results would be released.

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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 day and night to make sure these results are accurate," Mr Price said at a subsequent press conference.

The leading candidates pressed on in 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.

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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.

The other early leader, Mr Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has spent decades fighting to fundamentally change the nation's politics and economy. He has attracted significant support from young voters in particular.

Before he left Iowa late on Monday, the Sanders' campaign told supporters that its internal monitoring showed him in the lead with nearly half the vote in.

Mr Sanders himself said: "Today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump."

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Sen Warren also 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.

Mr Biden also said he was "feeling good" and predicted the results would be close.

The party told campaigns on Tuesday that the problem was a result of a "coding issue in the reporting system" that it said had since been fixed.

It said it had verified the accuracy of the collected data and said the problem was not a result of "a hack or an intrusion".