Nov 24, 2019

Pete Buttigieg's mayoral transition will come at the perfect time

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg's term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ends in January — freeing up the rising 2020 candidate’s schedule and opening the doors to new potential fundraising avenues just weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

The big picture: Buttigieg hasn't been tied to his desk, but hometown responsibilities have occasionally taken him off the trail. Most notably, he paused campaigning in June after an officer-involved shooting of a black man sparked protests throughout his town.

  • But with a free calendar, Buttigieg can go all-in in Iowa. Meanwhile, his competitors from the Senate will likely be caught up in impeachment trials, dragging them to Washington and away from early-state voters.

Buttigieg counts many fans on Wall Street. But policies at several financial institutions limit employees from donating to sitting politicians when the transaction could be interpreted as pay-to-play.

  • Towns like South Bend typically don't garner a lot of Wall Street business, meaning it's unlikely that a sweeping number of employees have been blocked from funding the mayor. Nonetheless, Buttigieg's departure from executive power could free up that financial outlet at a vital time for the campaign.
  • Of note: The mayor already has enjoyed success with fundraising, hauling in $19.1 million in Q3.

The bottom line: The transition comes at a great time for Buttigieg. His polling is up, his fundraising is strong and his calendar is about to be a whole lot easier.

What to watch: Buttigieg's hand-picked successor will be sworn in on Jan. 1. The Iowa caucuses are on Feb. 3.

Go deeper: Buttigieg to face frontrunner scrutiny after surprise Iowa poll

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Trump campaign attacks Buttigieg during Democratic debate

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and "Black Voices for Trump" sent coordinated mass emails during the Democratic debate Wednesday attacking Mayor Pete Buttigieg for his record on race and policing in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana.

Why it matters: As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported on Sunday, top Republicans are taking Buttigieg seriously as a potential general election candidate after his breakout poll in Iowa and his rise in New Hampshire. Several top Trump advisers have raised concerns that Buttigieg is more talented than Joe Biden and that he will be harder to brand as a leftist radical than Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.

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Keep ReadingArrowNov 21, 2019

Black South Bend city council leader endorses Biden over Buttigieg

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Oliver Davis, the longest-serving African American man on the Common Council of South Bend, Ind., endorsed Joe Biden over Pete Buttigieg, the city's mayor, reports Politico.

Why it matters: The endorsement highlights two common criticisms of Buttigieg: his lack of political experience beyond local government and his struggle to appeal to black voters.

Go deeperArrowNov 22, 2019

Behind Pete Buttigieg's Iowa rise

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks to voters during a campaign rally this month in Waverly, Iowa. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rather than riding a swell of media attention or a viral moment, Pete Buttigieg has ascended to the top of Iowa's Democratic presidential primary polling by channeling a substantial fundraising haul into TV ads and a robust presence inside the state.

Why it matters: With $2.3m spent so far on Iowa TV ads, more than 100 staff on the ground and 20 field offices, Buttigieg's investment reflects his campaign's bet that Iowa's Feb. 3 caucus is key to his chances as an underdog candidate from the Midwest.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019