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WATCH: Buttigieg speaks to supporters as Iowa caucus results show him in the lead

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg appeared to choke up as he addressed supporters in New Hampshire after initial voting results from Iowa showed him leading the caucuses along with Bernie Sanders.

Buttigieg said Tuesday at a middle school in Laconia that his success “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’s a lot backing up that belief.”

It was an apparent nod to his status as the first openly gay candidate to be a major contender for the presidential nomination. The 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is married to his husband, Chasten, who was standing in the back of the room as Buttigieg spoke. Both have spoken of the difficulties of being gay in a conservative state.

Buttigieg notes that he is now in “a state that famously thinks for itself.” He said he has never been more confident in his campaign, his team and his vision for America.