Pete Buttigieg nabs endorsement from New York Rep. Kathleen Rice

by Dan Merica – Nov 26, 2019 (, abridged)

New York Rep. Kathleen Rice is backing Pete Buttigieg for president, she told CNN, giving the South Bend, Indiana, mayor his third congressional endorsement.

Rice said in an interview on Monday that she is backing Buttigieg for the Democratic nomination because he is the “only candidate whose message is focused on addressing both our long term and short-term challenges that we face.”

“The thing that I admire about him is that he’s done it not by over-promising things and pandering to the base and he doesn’t use divisive rhetoric or my way or the highway approach,” Rice said, in a thinly veiled swipe at Buttigieg’s more progressive competitors like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. “He’s really demonstrated an unmatched ability and a willingness to reach voters where they are from across the political spectrum.”

Rice had initially backed former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and spoke glowingly of the former presidential candidate on Monday. But when the Texas Democrat ended his campaign earlier this month, Rice said she saw it as a “logical” decision to back the mayor.

Rice, who represents portions of Long Island, was once one of Nancy Pelosi’s most outspoken critics, arguing that the caucus needed “generational change” in leadership when Pelosi was seeking the House speakership last fall.

It’s a familiar argument for Buttigieg, who makes it often on the campaign trail to subtly knock his competitors and argue against President Donald Trump.

“We have to be a party and a nation that looks to the future for our solutions, not to the past,” Rice said. “I want a candidate who can bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to Washington. I think Pete’s that voice.”

Rice said shortly after Visclosky’s statement that she believes more members of Congress will be backing Buttigieg soon.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt,” she said, “that there are going to be more people like me who get behind Mayor Pete. There’s no question.”

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