Dec 20, 2019

"Billionaires in wine caves": Buttigieg and Warren clash over big-dollar donations

Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren clashed in a heated exchange over campaign financing at the Democratic debate on Thursday night, with Warren rebuking the mayor for hosting big-dollar fundraisers and Buttigieg shooting back that he's the only candidate on stage whose net worth isn't in the millions.

Why it matters: It was a dramatic manifestation of a fight that has been brewing online and on the campaign trail for weeks. Warren argued that decisions shouldn't be made in "smoke-filled rooms" where politicians can be corrupted by money, while Buttigieg countered that candidates shouldn't be relying on "purity tests" and turning down donations when they're in "the fight of our lives" against President Trump.

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4 takeaways from the sixth Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

With the debate stage narrowed to less than ten candidates for the first time, tensions flared as the top Democrats went toe-to-toe 46 days from the Iowa caucuses.

The big picture: Following the House's historic vote Wednesday night, the debate predictably opened with a question about impeaching President Trump — a moment that was quickly overshadowed as the candidates moved on to campaign finance, electability and experience, health care and more.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 20, 2019

Scoop: Buttigieg fundraiser dangles influence for cash

Photo. Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

In a recent email exchange with a wealthy prospective donor, a top fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made an offer that was unusually blunt — even by modern pay-to-play standards.

What they're saying: "If you want to get on the campaign's radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations," the fundraiser, H.K. Park, wrote in an email to the donor, which was reviewed by Axios.

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019

Buttigieg's hand-picked successor to take over as South Bend mayor

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

With a new year comes a new title for 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg: former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

The big picture: Buttigieg's term as mayor will end Wednesday as James Mueller, who served in Buttigieg's administration as chief of staff, is set to be sworn in. Buttigieg announced he would not run for re-election in 2018.

Go deeperArrowJan 1, 2020