“The policies that he was proposing are ones that most Americans could get behind”

Democratic Voters, Donors Give Buttigieg a Fresh Look

by Emily Glazer, Tarini Parti, and John McCormick – Oct 25, 2019 (WSJ.com, abridged)

‘We’re hitting another…upswing,’ says South Bend, Ind., mayor once considered a presidential long shot.

Shortly after 12 presidential candidates stepped off the debate stage earlier this month, roughly two-dozen influential Democrats at a watch party held an informal survey to see which White House contenders made an impression during the three-hour event.

The majority of the group—which included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has yet to endorse a candidate—agreed one candidate was particularly strong: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, some attendees said.

It seems like his campaign has been energized a little bit in the last month or so—even before the last debate,” said Daniel Callahan, chairman of the Buchanan County Democrats in Iowa. “A lot of people were aware of him and thought he was interesting, but now that he is moving up in the polls and getting money, the people who were interested are now starting to gravitate more.”

Mr. Buttigieg has been met with growing interest from undecided Democrats in the presidential primary, interviews with donors in California and New York and voters in New Hampshire and Iowa found. Many are now tuning in, with roughly three months to go before the Iowa caucuses and the crowded field starting to thin.

Tina Bourgeois, 52 years old, of Manchester, N.H., said she has now winnowed her top choices down to three candidates, with Mr. Buttigieg making the cut. She said the mayor had an advantage over the other candidates in his tone and demeanor. “His presentation is comforting,” Ms. Bourgeois said.

Rob Parisien, 49, a physician from Bow, N.H., said he has been interested in Mr. Buttigieg for a while and made a donation to his campaign in the spring, but now—after his debate performance and hearing his arguments on his health-care plan—he is more confident in Mr. Buttigieg. “He’s my No. 1 choice,” he said.

One donor said he plans to attend the state Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration next week to get a sense of whether there is a surge in Iowa for Mr. Buttigieg, as some recent polls have suggested. Donors who have already given to other candidates are also expressing interest in giving Mr. Buttigieg a second look.

Sam Yebri, a Los-Angeles based lawyer and community activist, spoke with Mr. Buttigieg at a meet-and-greet gathering of about 20 people at a West Hollywood, Calif., hotel restaurant last week. Mr. Yebri, who has also supported Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, said he was impressed by Mr. Buttigieg’s intellect, ideas and experience—and also chatted with him for a bit in Farsi.

The policies that he was proposing were ones that most Americans could get behind…whereas I’m worried that the tone and ideas of Sanders and Warren are more divisive,” said Mr. Yebri, who plans to co-host a Buttigieg fundraiser before the end of the year.

Other donors in New York and Los Angeles considering giving to Mr. Buttigieg said they see it a longer-term bet since he represents a younger generation of politicians. “If you believe in supporting the future of the party, he’s an interesting candidate to get behind even if he doesn’t win the nomination,” a Los Angeles donor said.

In the third quarter, Mr. Buttigieg more than doubled his intake from the securities and investment industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He is second only to Ms. Harris in fundraising from the deep-pocked entertainment industry, the Center found.

[read in full at WSJ.com]

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