Pete Buttigieg Pitches to Black Voters in South Carolina, White Voters in Iowa

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 07: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks on stage at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 07, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE

South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg is targeting white voters in Iowa with a new ad — while arguing that black voters in South Carolina will not be concerned about his sexuality.

Buttigieg pushed back Monday against suggestions by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) that black voters, especially older ones, might be reluctant to back a gay candidate, The Hill noted.

While observing that the community’s ideas on sexuality had changed, Clyburn told CNN that “there’s no question” that Buttigieg’s sexuality would be a problem among older African-American voters.

Buttigieg, who has struggled to retain the support of the black community in his hometown after controversies involving local policing, responded to Clyburn: “It is remarkable how Americans are capable of moving past old habit, moving past old prejudices, making history, and getting the president that will serve them best regardless of the other noise that’s circling around the race.”

The second-term mayor and U.S. Navy veteran has struggled among black voters, particularly in South Carolina. But he is surging in Iowa, where he released a new ad Monday, called “Sun Comes Up,” that features a preponderance of white supporters attending the state Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration (until recently known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner).

In the ad, NBC News noted, Buttigieg focuses on the “fight” against President Donald Trump. It is his sixth ad in the state.

Iowans will vote first next year, in their traditional caucuses, on Feb. 3. South Carolina holds the fourth primary contest on Feb. 29, and the last before Super Tuesday. It is also the first primary with a significant black electorate.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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