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Pete Buttigieg 2020 presidential campaign

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Pete for America
Pete for America logo (Strato Blue).svg
Campaign2020 United States presidential election (Democratic primaries)
AffiliationDemocratic Party
  • Exploratory committee:
  •      January 23, 2019
  • Announced:
  •      April 14, 2019
HeadquartersSouth Bend, Indiana
Key people
  • Mike Schmuhl[1]
  •      (campaign manager)
  • Lis Smith[1]
  •      (spokesperson)
ReceiptsUS$51,549,046.28[2] (2019-09-30)
SloganIt's time for a new generation of American leadership

The 2020 presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg is a political campaign for the presidency of the United States by Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. It began with the formation of an exploratory committee for the Democratic nomination on January 23, 2019. The campaign was officially launched on April 14, 2019.[3][4] Buttigieg is the first openly gay Democratic candidate for president,[5] and the youngest candidate in the 2020 primary race.[6]

Buttigieg's major policy positions include abolition of the United States Electoral College, support for a public health insurance option, labor unions, universal background checks for gun purchases, protecting the environment by addressing climate change, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, overturning the Citizens United ruling, and passing a federal law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people.[7]


Exploratory committee

Buttigieg campaigning in New Hampshire, February 2019

On January 23, 2019, Pete Buttigieg announced the formation of an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[8] He had attracted speculation as a potential presidential candidate, notably following his visit to the early caucus state of Iowa in December 2018, where he announced that he would not seek reelection as mayor of South Bend.[9]

Buttigieg held a town hall meeting at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 10.[10] Within twenty-four hours, Buttigieg raised more than $600,000 from 22,000 unique donors. This gave his campaign an early advantage and distinguished him from most of the other lower-tier candidates attempting to qualify for the primary debates later in the year. Following his heralded town hall performance and a series of well-received interviews with news media, Buttigieg was dubbed by CNN "the hottest candidate in the 2020 race".[11][12]

On March 16, 2019, Buttigieg's campaign surpassed the 65,000 unique donor threshold to qualify for the presidential primary debates.[13][14]

Campaign announcement

On April 14, 2019, Buttigieg's campaign was formally launched from South Bend, Indiana.[3]


By the end of the first quarter of 2019, the campaign had raised more than $7 million.[15]

Democratic donor Susie Tompkins Buell sent invitations to a Buttigieg fundraiser scheduled for April 11, 2019; it sought contributions ranging from $250 to $2,800. Buell has also backed U.S. Senator Kamala Harris in the 2020 race.[16] Within four hours of Buttigieg's campaign launch, it raised over $1 million.[17]

On April 26, 2019, Pete Buttigieg announced that his campaign would no longer accept donations from registered lobbyists; and it then returned $30,250 in donations of this kind.[18]

Pete Buttigieg's campaign raised over $24.8 million in the second quarter of 2019, the highest amount raised by any candidate in that quarter, and an amount that included funds from 230,000 new donors.[19] Buttigieg has $22.6 million cash on hand, according to the campaign, with a total of 400,000 donors.[20]


Buttigieg speaking at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in June 2019.

A poll conducted by Emerson Polling between March 21 and 24, 2019, in the early battleground state of Iowa found Buttigieg in third place behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, but ahead of other candidates such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O'Rourke.[21] A St. Anselm College poll conducted between April 3 and April 8 in New Hampshire also placed Buttigieg in third.[22]

In June, a Yougov poll showed Buttigieg in fifth place nationwide by number of people considering voting for him.[6] Polls in August and September showed he had low support among African-Americans.[23] By mid-November, he had emerged as a potential frontrunner in Iowa polls.[24]

African American support

Criticism of Buttigieg's handling of racial issues in South Bend has led to doubts about his ability to attract Black voters.[25] Following the controversial shooting of Eric Logan, an African American man, by a white South Bend police officer in June, 2019, Buttigieg was compelled to hold off his campaign to commit his undivided focus to the emerging public reaction. Buttigieg convened a local town hall on June 23, where he heard the grievances of disaffected activists in the African American community as well as relatives of Eric Logan.[26] The local police union accused Buttigieg of making decisions for political gain.[27] After the shooting, Buttigieg came under scrutiny for his management of the South Bend police department.[28][29][30] The tragedy was seen by some as a test of Buttigieg's ability to weather the rigours of the presidency.[26][31]

Campaign slogan

The popular slogan of the Pete Buttigieg 2020 Campaign is "Win The Era" and the message of Generational Change.[32]

Democratic primary debates

The Democratic National Committee has scheduled a series of twelve primary debates, six each in 2019 and 2020.[33][34]

First debate

The first debate was held June 26 and June 27 in Miami, Florida.[33] Due to the large number of candidates participating, twenty who qualified, the first two debates were divided into two nights, each with ten candidates; Buttigieg was placed in the latter group of candidates.[35] On June 27, Buttigieg took part in the first 2020 Democratic Party presidential debate.[36] He thus became the first openly gay presidential candidate to appear in a nationally televised presidential debate in the United States.[37]

Second, third, and fourth debates

The second debate was held July 30 and 31 in Detroit.[33] Buttigieg participated on the first night July 30.[38] The third debate took place September 12 in Houston, Texas.[33] Only ten candidates qualified, so it took place over the course of only one night.[39] The fourth debate took place October 15 in Westerville, Ohio and was hosted by CNN and the New York Times.[33][40]

Fifth debate

Buttigieg participated in the fifth debate along with nine other candidates, which took place on November 20 in Atlanta, Georgia.[33] Instead of polling mid-pack, he was leading in Iowa, the first state primary, and was in the top tier in New Hampshire, the second. Buttigieg iterated his mayoral and military, experience, stating "I know that from the perspective of Washington, what goes on in my city might look small, but frankly, where we live, the infighting on Capitol Hill is what looks small."[41]

Sixth debate

As of November 2019, Buttigieg is one of six candidates meeting the polling percentages, and fundraising quotas for the sixth debate being held December 19 in Los Angeles.[42] The overall field of candidates has remained around twenty with some candidates dropping out, while others have entered or declared an interest to run.[42]

Political positions


Buttigieg is pro-choice;[43] as such, he supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funding for abortion services in all but the most extreme circumstances.[44] In 2018, as mayor, Buttigieg vetoed a South Bend Common Council rezoning decision that would have allowed a pro-life Women's Care Center to open next door to the abortion clinic, Whole Women's Health Alliance.[45] The Women's Care Center eventually found an alternative location in South Bend.[46] Even though the South Bend Common Council supported the rezoning exception, Buttigieg said, "I don’t think it would be responsible to situate two groups literally right next to each other ... that have diametrically opposed views on the most divisive social issue of our time." He also expressed his concern that such a close proximity between their buildings would simply conduce to the harassment of the one side by the other.[47]

In May 2019, after the Alabama Legislature outlawed virtually all abortion services in the state by passing the Human Life Protection Act, Buttigieg said that it was "ignoring science, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women."[48]

Climate change

Buttigieg released a plan to combat climate change that rests on the following three pillars: building a clean economy through the creation of clean energy jobs; improving resilience by investing in disaster relief and prevention; and building the United States' role on the international stage in the urgent fight against climate change.[49] Further, his proposal sets the aggressive benchmarks of doubling clean electricity in the U.S. by 2025, zero emissions in electricity generation by 2035, net-zero emissions from industrial vehicles by 2040, and a net-zero emissions by 2050.[49]

Buttigieg has said that he would restore the United States' commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and double its pledge to the Green Climate Fund.[50] He has also said that the government should start subsidizing solar panels to reduce emissions.[51][better source needed] Buttigieg approves of the Green New Deal proposed by House Democrats.[52][53] He also supports a carbon tax and dividend policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.[54]

Criminal justice

Buttigieg supports the abolition of the death penalty.[55] He has also called for restoring voting rights to former felons and moving toward reversing criminal sentences for minor drug-related offenses.[56] He supports the "safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana."[57]

In 2019, Buttigieg professed himself "troubled" by former President Obama's decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Iraq War whistleblower, days before leaving office in 2017; Buttigieg also gave a mixed evaluation of Edward Snowden's disclosure of classified information, saying that "we've learned things about abuses and that one way or another that needed to come out" but that "the way for that to come out is through Congressional oversight, not through a breach of classified information."[58]

In August 2019, Buttigieg released a plan to decriminalize drug addiction and mental illness, favoring diversionary programs over incarceration.[59]

Economy and commerce

Buttigieg has frequently pointed to automation as the chief cause of the great loss of manufacturing jobs nationwide.[60] Buttigieg has spent time talking with labor workers and has emphasized the need for democratic leaders to be in contact with labor unions.[61] As a self-proclaimed democratic capitalist, Buttigieg rejects crony capitalism and supports a constitutional amendment to protect democracy from the undue and corruptive influence of money in politics.[62] He is receptive to the possibility of antitrust actions against large technology companies but more focused on privacy and data security concerns.[63]


Buttigieg favors the abolition of the Electoral College.[64] He has also said that he supports reinstating convicted felons' right to vote once they are released, but not before.[65]

Foreign policy

Buttigieg has said that he believes the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan was justified,[63] but now supports withdrawing American troops from the region while maintaining an intelligence presence.[50] Buttigieg is a committed supporter of Israel, breaking from the increasing trend in the Democratic Party to support the Palestinians and their cause.[66] However, he notably disapproves of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's zeal for annexing Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.[67]

In January 2019, following Juan Guaidó's self-declaration as interim president of Venezuela, Buttigieg told HuffPost that as a supporter of free and fair elections, he is amenable to potential sanctions but not a military intervention imposed on the country.[68] On June 11, 2019, Buttigieg said: "We will remain open to working with a regime like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the benefit of the American people. But we can no longer sell out our deepest values for the sake of fossil fuel access and lucrative business deals."[69]

Health care

At the start of his campaign, Buttigieg advocated for a single-payer healthcare system.[70] He has clarified that he would not immediately jump to single-payer from the current system, preferring to implement an all-payer rate setting as a glide path.[71] By November 2019, Buttigieg was promoting "Medicare for All Who Want It",[72] a plan that would implement a public option for healthcare insurance, while allowing private healthcare insurers to remain in business.[73]

In August 2019, Buttigieg released a $300 billion plan to expand mental health care services and fight addiction.[74][75]


Buttigieg supports Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and has rebuked the Trump administration’s deportation policies. He defended a resident of Granger, Indiana, who was deported after living in the U.S. for 17 years despite having regularly checked in with ICE and applied for a green card.[76]

Buttigieg has said that Trump has been reckless in sending American troops to the southern border, and that it is a measure of last resort.[77]

Judicial issues

Buttigieg has said that he believes the Supreme Court needs structural reform, emphasizing depoliticization and suggesting that the court be expanded to 15 members, five of whom can only be seated by unanimous consensus of the other ten.[64]

Racial equality

In May 2019, Buttigieg warned that President Donald Trump and his administration were using white identity politics, which he identified as the most divisive form of identity politics.[78] In July 2019 Buttigieg shared his Douglass Plan, named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass, to address systemic racism in America.[79] Announcing it at a Chicago meeting of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH civil rights organization, Buttigieg compared the plan's scope to that of the U.S.'s Marshall Plan, which invested funds in war-torn Europe after World War II, and said it would address "opportunity for minority businesses, strengthening voting rights, and reforming the criminal justice system." The initiative allocates $10 billion to African-American entrepreneurship over five years, grants $25 billion to historically black colleges, legalizes marijuana, expunges records of drug convictions, halves the federal prison population, and passes a federal New Voting Rights Act designed to increase voting access.[80][79]

The rollout of the Douglass Plan was the subject of controversy.[81][82] The Intercept reported that in a press release about the plan, the campaign had listed three prominent members of the South Carolina black community, none of whom had endorsed Buttigieg and only one of whom had endorsed the plan.[82] After criticism of the press release, the Buttigieg campaign responded that they had sent the plan to a list of supporters and asked them to opt out if they did not want to be included.[82] The campaign also received criticism for displaying a stock photo of a woman from Kenya on their page promoting the plan, which was later removed.[81]

Social issues

Buttigieg favors amending civil rights legislation with the Federal Equality Act so that LGBT Americans also receive federal non-discrimination protections.[83] He opposes the ban on transgender people participating in the military that was enacted by Trump.[84][58]

He also supports expanding opportunities for national service and has said that he is open to making a yearlong term of national service mandatory for those turning 18 years old.[85][86] "One thing we could do ... would be to make it, if not legally obligatory, then certainly a social norm that anybody after they're 18 years old spends a year in national service", he said.[86] In July 2019 Buttigieg announced a plan to increase participation in national service organizations like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, as well as creating new ones dedicated to “fighting climate change, treating mental health and addiction, and providing caregiving for older people”.[87] The initiative prioritizes volunteering in predominantly minority communities and rural areas by tripling programs to 250,000 people at first, then expanding to one million by 2026.[87]


Buttigieg is an advocate for the statehood of Washington, D.C. He has also indicated that he would support Puerto Rican statehood "if they want it."[64]

Workers' rights

In July 2019, Buttigieg released a plan for the empowerment of workers in the changing economy by bolstering the bargaining power of their unions, by raising the minimum wage to $15, and by offering paid family leave nationwide.[88][better source needed]



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External links