After taking lots of hits and attacks for his time working at global consultancy firm McKinsey, skepticism over his appeal to black voters, and the whole ‘wine cave’ thing, Democratic White House hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg is still surging in Iowa.
From Iowa Starting Line:
Despite the new scrutiny, Buttigieg has seen his crowd sizes in Iowa swell this month, including five separate events with over 1,000 people each. Among those were a statement-making 2,000-person rally in Coralville, right in Iowa’s most liberal county, and a West Des Moines event this weekend that brought out 1,200.
Between those, he took a tour of rural counties and mid-size towns, often producing turnouts that local Democratic leaders say are the largest they’ve seen since Barack Obama’s 2008 caucus campaign. Around 500 showed up in Ottumwa and Fort Madison each for Buttigieg yesterday, and over 240 packed a theater in Centerville, a town of 5,500 near the Missouri border.
The Starting Line notes that many Iowans they spoke to have heard very little, or aren’t concerned about, issues with his time at McKinsey.
Here’s what some of the town hall attendees had to say about the 37-year-old openly gay candidate:
• Julie Gentz, 69, retired educator: “I just need some hope. I feel like this is a Kennedy moment … It’s a Kennedy moment in one respect, and it’s an Obama moment in the fact that he’s not just your run-of-the-mill politician.”
• Laura Miller, 30: “He has his way of uniting all of us from different backgrounds and cultures, and just reminding us that we’re all human.”
• Roger Mills, retiree: “I think he’s a person who has a great deal of spirituality in him, and I think he’s a person who can lead us into a different form of consciousness of peace and love. He quotes passages from the Bible. That intrigues me. It gives me hope.”
• Tom Lucas, veteran: “He speaks from the heart because he is a veteran. It’s not a canned speech from some speechwriter. He’s worn the boots, he’s part of the brotherhood.”
Also, two of the other top tier candidates – Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – may find themselves locked down in Washington as part of the jury in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. That could leave a wider opening for Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden to campaign across Iowa in the weeks leading up to the February 3 caucuses.