Buttigieg hauls in $7 million and Dems are paying attention

Pete Buttigieg is on a roll.
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg. Screen capture by CBS News via YouTube video

Pete Buttigieg is showing his fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls how it’s done, at least when it comes to raising money during the first-quarter fundraising deadline which ended Sunday.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has collected plenty of media attention and rising polling numbers, and he added icing to that cake by announcing Monday that he’d raised $7 million during his first couple of months on the campaign trail.

The 37-year-old openly gay candidate’s fundraising acumen is the first sign that he’s a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, but he’s definitely shaking up the Democratic platform, Politico notes. And he’s doing this in some rather unconventional ways — grabbing the attention of Democrats across the country in moments that went viral and by encouraging a network of fellow mayors to lay the groundwork.

“He’s disrupting the entire 2020 race,” said Jon Soltz, president of VoteVets, a progressive group that hasn’t as yet endorsed a 2020 candidate. “The more and more people hear from him, the more they think he’s the fresh face that they’ve been waiting for.”

But he’s also the first presidential candidate to air his fundraising totals from the first quarter of 2019 — and that gained him plenty of cable news coverage Monday. Other candidates have chimed in with 24-hour totals after launching their campaigns. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is at the head of that class having raised $6.1 million, with Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) right behind him with just under $6 million.

O’Rourke and Sanders’ total first-quarter numbers will likely surpass Buttigieg’s. Even so, his totals will likely eclipse a number of senators and governors also running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Mark Longabaugh, a Democratic consultant who worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign noted Buttigieg’s showing “is quite extraordinary for a mayor.”

“He’s carved his way into this race, and I’m not sure many people thought he could do that,” Longabaugh said.

Buttigieg’s impressive showing means the Democratic race is definitely bottomless and it’s anyone’s guess who will be nominated, The Hill reports.

“This is a wide open race, where, in a very short time someone like Mayor Buttigieg goes from dark horse to first or second tier,” said Democratic strategist John Lapp.

The public will have a good chance to get the full financial picture regarding how the 2020 hopefuls are stacking up after April 15, the date that campaign finance reports must be turned in to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). As it stands right now, the picture looks rosy.

Featured image by CBS News via YouTube video