Gay politician Pete Buttigieg announced his exploratory committee has met the 65,000 donors goal required to qualify to the Democratic Party’s primary debate in June.
Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend in Indiana, wrote on Twitter he has received donations by more than 76,000 people.
“Thanks to you, we hit the @TheDemocrats 65,000 donor goal in order to be invited to the first debate. But we are going to need to raise a lot more money to compete,” he wrote.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) March 16, 2019
He added: “I know I can hold my own on the debate stage and represent your values with honor and integrity, but I need to know we can build a strong organization, too.”
Buttigieg came out as gay during his second re-election campaign in 2015 in a newspaper column. He got re-elected with 80 percent of the vote.
When the 37-year-old announced the creation of an exploratory committee in January, many commentators saw him as standing little chances of ever winning the Democratic Party nomination, which would make him the youngest-ever presidential candidate, as well as the first openly gay presidential hopeful.
Buttigieg’s supporters see the Democratic primary debate as an opportunity for the Indian official, locally known as “Mayor Pete” to truly shine.
“So excited for you and for the country to hear you!”
— Pete Buttigieg supporter
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“Congrats!!!! SO glad that we’ll be seeing you on the debate stage! I think the country will be WOW-ed!” one supporter wrote on Twitter, commenting on Buttigieg’s post.
“So excited for you and for the country to hear you! This Texas gal donated after seeing you on SXSW CNN Town Hall. You blew me away.” another person reacted.
Peter Buttigieg says he met one of two goals for Democratic Party primary debates
The Democrats’ crowded field of 2020 presidential hopefuls fighting for the party nomination has led the Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez to announce a series of criteria for participation in the primary debates.
As reported in NBC News last month, each of the 12 debates scheduled over the 2020 Democratic primary season will see lineups chosen at random among the candidates.
To qualify for the debate, each candidate will need to have either at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states.
Should there be more than 20 candidates meeting one of those two qualifications, the top 20 will be chosen following a separate system that would consider meeting both criteria, polling averages, and the number of most unique donors.
The first 2020 presidential primary debate will be hosted in June by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo—more than one debate over consecutive weeknights would be arranged to accommodate a large number of candidates.
CNN will host the second debate in July and four others will follow later this year, with six more scheduled for 2020.