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LGBT donors give Pete Buttigieg an edge in presidential race

Reiss Smith April 25, 2019
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Pete Buttigieg holding a microphone

Pete Buttigieg speaks at the West Side Democratic Club on April 22. (KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign has raised more than $7 million (£5.4 million) in the first quarter of 2019, thanks in part to the generosity of LGBT+ donors.

Buttigieg has gone from long-shot for the Democratic presidential nomination to polling third in two recent polls.

Elizabeth Birch, former director of the Human Rights Campaign, has suggested that his success is partly due to financial backing from the LGBT+ community.

“What is going on now is one of the untold secrets of the DNC (Democratic National Committee) and of the Democrats generally, which is that the LGBT+ community is a huge source of money into the Democratic Party,” she told Vanity Fair.

“The LGBT+ community is a huge source of money into the Democratic Party.”

—Elizabeth Birch

Birch said that the Indiana mayor has has “the right package of characteristics for gay donors,” including his liberal Christian values.

“He’s calling for awakening of the religious left,” she explained.

“A great number of LGBT+ people were thrown out of their places of worship growing up. Pete is grabbing the mantle of spirituality and reclaiming it. For many it is enormously appealing and healing. ”

Pete Buttigieg campaign fundraising smashes expectations

Buttigieg raised more than $7 million (£5.4 million) in the first quarter of 2019, with $4.5 million (£3.5 million) coming from donors who gave $200 (£155) or less.

Only Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke took more from small donors, though other candidates have raised more money than Buttigieg when large donations, transfers and private loans are taken into account.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg greets his husband Chasten after announcing that he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for president during a rally in the old Studebaker car factory on April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana.
Pete Buttigieg kisses his husband Chasten after announcing his campaign. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Birch compared Buttigieg’s early success to that of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign which raised $25 million in its first quarter, establishing the then-senator as a real challenger.

“You could call it the Obama moment,” she said.

Ryan Murphy to host fundraiser for Pete Buttigieg

American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy and his husband David Miller are reportedly hosting a star-studded fundraiser for Buttigieg on June 19.

The event is set to be co-hosted by several of Hollywood’s gay elite: actor Matt Bomer and his husband Simon Halls, TV mogul Greg Berlanti and and his producer husband Robbie Rogers, and star of The Lion King Billy Eichner.

Other LGBT+ figures who have contributed to the campaign, according to Vanity Fair, include Democratic donors Eric Janssen and Marco Zerega, Broadway’s Richie Jackson and lobbyist Steve Elmendorf.

Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest celebrity to organise a fundraiser for Buttigieg. The actress will reportedly host an event in Los Angeles on May 9, which she will co-host with The West Wing actor Bradley Whitford.

Related topics: Pete Buttigieg, US, us election, us election 2020

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