Mayor Pete Surges Into Top Half of the Democratic Pack

Web searches, donations and social media engagement explode.  

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., a well-educated millennial and Afghanistan veteran who’s gay, is finding favor with Democratic voters. Buttigieg would be the youngest U.S. president ever, if elected.   

In a crowded race of 16 Democrats running for the Oval Office, Buttigieg, also known as Mayor Pete, is starting to gain recognition.   

According to the latest Morning Consult weekly tracking poll, (data from registered Democratic voters collected from March 25-29), the 37-year-old’s net favorability is now at 3 percent, bypassing other well-known candidates including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.  

Buttigieg is now in the top half of the Democratic pack of candidates. His favorability ranking jumped by 11 points since early February. It’s the largest increase of any candidate.   

Buttigieg reported raising $7 million for his presidential campaign since January. Following his March 10 CNN town hall, he added 447,000 followers on Twitter, according to an Axios report, which states he’s “generating more social media interest on a per article basis than any of his rivals.”   

He has also risen significantly in web searches. 

Following Buttigieg’s appearance on “Morning Joe” in March, co-host Joe Scarborough tweeted about the response from viewers comparing it to the response to former President Barack Obama’s first appearance on the show:  

Meet Mayor Pete   

Buttigieg is the son of an immigrant father from Malta. He graduated from Harvard University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship.   

He worked as a consultant at McKinsey before moving back home to Indiana at age 29. In 2011, he was elected mayor of South Bend, and became the youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 people. He was re-elected in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote.  

Buttigieg served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and took an unpaid seven months leave during his mayoral term for a deployment to Afghanistan. For his counterterrorism work, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Buttigieg is married to junior high school teacher Chasten Glezman Buttigieg.   

Under his leadership, South Bend has reimagined its role in the global economy with job growth and major investment in advanced industries, with a focus on data and technology.  

In an opinion piece by David Brooks, “Why You Love Mayor Pete,” published in the New York Times on Monday, he writes:  

“Buttigieg’s secret is that he transcends many of the tensions that run through our society in a way that makes people on all sides feel comfortable. First, he is young and represents the rising generation, but he is also an older person’s idea of what a young person should be. He’d be the first millennial president, but Buttigieg doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes that have been affixed to America’s young people.” 

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