Pete Buttigieg added two more Iowa legislators to his endorsement column today, both of them from Des Moines’ South Side.
State Sen. Tony Bisignano and State Rep. Brian Meyer are announcing their backing of the South Bend Mayor today, adding two well-known legislators to his endorsement list that includes many local elected officials. State Sen. Bill Dotzler of Waterloo previously endorsed Buttigieg earlier this month.
“People are underestimating his traction,” Bisignano told Starting Line.
While Buttigieg has come under significant scrutiny over the past two weeks after his recent rise in Iowa polls, he has also, at the same time, seen some of his largest crowds for his events yet in the state.
Meyer, who had previously endorsed Beto O’Rourke earlier in the year, liked Buttigieg’s potential strength in matching up against President Donald Trump.
“It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Washington,” said Meyer. “As a Democratic mayor in a red state, Pete has a record of bringing people together to solve real problems at the local level. Being from the Midwest, he deeply understands the challenges facing our communities in Iowa, and his ability to communicate his vision to people of all backgrounds makes him the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump in November.”
Though the South Side of Des Moines that both legislators represent is solidly Democratic, it can also be more culturally conservative with its large Catholic population than some other blue areas of the state. But Bisignano observed that he hasn’t seen it cause an issue with Buttigieg.
“What’s surprising is that, being from the South Side and knowing the guys around here, the gay issue is not an issue,” Bisignano said. “That in itself has been surprising, because then that means they’re willing to look for what he stands for. And if being a military member is important … people are listening to him.”
He added that many of his friends who aren’t going for a further-left candidate in the primary are actively considering between Buttigieg and Joe Biden.
If Buttigieg can perform well on the South Side, he could rack up a significant amount of delegates in Polk County, where about a fourth of all the Democratic caucus delegates will be awarded. He already appears to be doing well in the suburban neighborhoods in the Des Moines metro.
Bisignano backed Biden’s previous two runs for president. He told Bloomberg News earlier this year that he endorsed Biden this time around but never heard from the campaign, so decided to make a switch.
“At a time when our politics feels more divisive than ever, Pete is offering a fresh approach that brings people together,” Bisignano added.