Close outcome illustrates the fight between progressives and more moderate candidates in the Democratic presidential race

Pete Buttigieg
continued to lead Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in delegates awarded in the Iowa caucuses, as results from the first nominating contest of the 2020 election continued to trickle in on Wednesday, two days after the balloting.With 92% of precincts reported, Mr. Buttigieg led in state delegate equivalents, the state partys preferred metric, with Mr. Sanders in a close second.Meanwhile, Iowa Democrats suffered another embarrassment on Wednesday when they erroneously published results from Monday nights caucuses that appeared to show former
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
had won a significant batch of delegates, even though he was never in serious contention. The error also incorrectly boosted billionaire
Tom Steyers
totals. The party acknowledged the error in a tweet, calling it a minor correction as it released revised numbers.
A win for Mr. Buttigieg, a 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Ind., would provide him a major boost in the partys nominating contest. But news organizations have been unable to declare a winner in the race because of a results-reporting debacle that has dragged on since Monday night.
A close finish between Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Sanders would illustrate the continuing fight between progressives and more moderate candidates in a field still totaling close to a dozen candidates.
The campaign has since moved on to New Hampshire, where the next contest comes on Tuesday with that states first-in-the-nation primary.
The Iowa numbers so far have pointed to a worse-than-expected finish for former Vice President
Joe Biden,
who is in fourth. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was in third.
In fifth place was Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a neighbor to the north who invested heavily in Iowa in hopes of a strong showing in the contest.
The numbers so far suggest a possible split verdict, with one candidate winning the popular vote and another securing the most delegates. Mr. Sanders narrowly leads Mr. Buttigieg in raw vote totals from the first of two rounds of voting held in the tradition-bound caucuses.
State and national party officials have said the candidate who nets the most delegates should be considered the winner, because the caucuses are designed to reward statewide support, not total votes cast.
The state party is collecting paper records completed during the precinct meetings and gradually comparing them to electronic results. Officials have attributed tabulating problems to a software glitch that triggered inconsistencies in data obtained from a mobile app used to report vote tallies from precincts.
Write to John McCormick at mccormick.john@wsj.com and Chad Day at Chad.Day@wsj.com
Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8