South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg led all of his rivals in second-quarter fundraising, but he has so far been unable to see a boost in polls.
As was widely reported this week, Pete Buttigieg topped the 2020 presidential field in fundraising for the second quarter of 2019, bringing in an impressive haul of $24.8 million between April 1 and June 30. This tops former vice president Joe Biden’s haul of $21 million, and Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vermont) haul of $18 million ($24 million when taking into account his transfer of $6 million from his 2016 campaign war chest to the most recent quarterly fundraising period).
But despite his fundraising edge, “Mayor Pete” actually saw his support drop between his most recent appearance in the first Democratic presidential debate and today. According to poll aggregator RealClearPolitics, Buttigieg went from an average of 7% in polls on June 25 — prior to the first of two debates — to just 5.2% on July 3.
And while Bernie Sanders’ $18 million came primarily from low-wage workers — who often work at companies Sanders has criticized for paying its workers poverty wages, like Walmart and Amazon — Pete Buttigieg raised a not-insignificant portion of his $25 million from well-heeled donors (both Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have shunned holding high-dollar fundraisers).
As Grit Post previously reported, Mayor Pete was a beneficiary of high-dollar fundraisers held by bankers like Hamilton James, the executive vice chairman of private equity firm Blackstone. Earlier this year, Blackstone was criticized by a UN special rapporteur for exacerbating America’s affordable housing crisis by buying up homes made for low-income renters, refurbishing them, and then pricing the former tenants out in favor of wealthier renters.
The South Bend mayor hopes to continue his fundraising dominance in a series of Silicon Valley fundraisers later this month. As Yahoo reported, Google and PayPal executives will be hosting a Buttigieg fundraiser in San Francisco on July 24, which will be co-hosted by a tech industry “angel investor” as well as a Facebook representative. Attendees are encouraged to give the maximum donation of $2,800, or commit to raising $15,000 for the Pete for America campaign.
Buttigieg may also be capitalizing on Joe Biden’s widely panned debate performance, as the former vice president lost a major Silicon Valley fundraiser following his appearance in the first Democratic debate. One unnamed Silicon Valley source told Yahoo that wealthy tech donors are “looking to Pete as a Biden alternative,” and added that many of his colleagues are “still looking for a friendly, moderate face.”
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.