Mark Zuckerberg Secretly Advised Buttigieg on Campaign Hires

(INSET: Pete Buttigieg) Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University in a 'Conversation on Free Expression" in Washington, DC on October 17, 2019. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty, Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been quietly advising 2020 White House hopeful and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) on campaign staff hires.

Buttigieg campaign spokesperson Chris Meagher confirmed both Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan provided details on several names, two of which were eventually hired, in a statement to Bloomberg News.

Nina Wornhoff, now a data manager for the Buttigieg campaign, previously worked as a machine learning engineer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the couple’s philanthropic arm. Eric Mayefsky, a digital analytics adviser for the Democrat presidential candidate, worked at Facebook between 2010-2014.

Newly confirmed details of Zuckerberg’s communication with the Buttigieg campaign is a “rare example of direct political involvement from one of tech’s most powerful executives,” Bloomberg’s Tyler Pager and Kurt Wagner write.

Of course, news of the emails is not the first time the two have crossed paths. In 2017, Zuckerberg and Buttigieg, both Harvard University alumni, hosted a Facebook Live discussion during the Facebook CEO’s Midwest listening tour. The South Bend mayor made headlines in May when he expressed support for additional regulations on Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, despite his relationship with Zuckerberg.

Bloomberg News’ report comes as a new poll released Monday shows that Buttigieg has risen to third place in the key primary state of Iowa.

The Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll states that former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) enjoy 18 percent and 17 percent approval from voters, while Buttigieg has garnered 13 percent. This boomlet comes after an obvious affectation of moderation during last week’s primary debate — reversing course after months of trashing Trump voters, particularly evangelicals, as morally bankrupt and hypocritical.

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