Pete Buttigieg, a Midwestern mayor who in late January launched a seemingly long-shot bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential bid, announced Monday that his campaign raised more than $7 million in this year’s first three months of 2019.
The full significance of Buttigieg’s haul will rest on still-unknown details, including how much of the money he still has on hand and the number of donors who contributed.
But for a 37-year-old politician from South Bend, Indiana, who was largely unknown when he entered the White House race, the figure represents a coup likely to heighten the seriousness with which his campaign is viewed.
“As more and more people around the country begin to hear our bold vision for the future, more and more people are investing in the effort,” Buttigieg wrote in an email to supporters early Monday.
Buttigieg has had a marked ascent in visibility nationally since he was spotlighted in a televised CNN town hall in mid-March. Viewers apparently impressed with his performance helped him raise $600,000 in the 24 hours after the town hall. His campaign has since confirmed that he has at least 65,000 individual donors, the threshold needed to allow him to qualify for the Democratic primary debates.
Buttigieg, a former Rhodes scholar and Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan, would be the country’s first openly gay president. He has benefitted from stories showcasing his intelligence ― he taught himself Norwegian and is a fan of James Joyce’s Ulysses ― and his committed partnership with his husband Chasten, who enjoys a devoted social media following of his own.
Buttigieg’s fundraising haul falls short of that of some better-known rivals in the Democratic race. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised over $10 million in the first week of his campaign. And former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) raised over $6 million in the first 24 hours after he announced his bid.
But recent polls have shown Buttigieg in a competitive position in the crowded field. A Quinnipiac University survey of nationwide Democrats released Thursday showed Buttigieg with 4 percent support, tying him with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for fifth place.