In the wake of a surge in his popularity in polls on 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and proto-candidates (nationally and in Iowa), South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has reached another milepost on the road to viability, attaining some impressive fundraising numbers, as reported by CNBC:
Pete Buttigieg, a longshot contender to take on President Donald Trump in 2020, announced Monday that his campaign raised more than $7 million since the South Bend, Indiana, mayor declared his candidacy in January.
The fundraising total does not list the number of donors, and a complete public accounting is due April 15.
But the amount is turning heads, given Buttigieg’s low name recognition — more than half of registered voters haven’t heard of him.
We’ll have a better sense of how Mayor Pete stands in the fundraising race as his rivals release their own first-quarter numbers. But CNBC is probably right in deeming him as having ascended to the “middle tier” of the crowded field, which is quite an accomplishment when you’re 37 years old and are the chief executive of a city ranked 299th in the country in population (20 spots below West Covina, California).
But it’s not like Buttigieg is the first charismatic outsider to strike a chord with small donors and look impressive in early presidential fundraising. In 2016, Republican Ben Carson (now HUD secretary) raised an incredible $63 million (plus another $19 million from outside groups) en route to a distant fourth-place finish in Iowa, an even more distant eighth-place finish in New Hampshire, and an early exit from the race. The same year, Carly Fiorina had $26 million in backing (between her own campaign and outside groups created on her behalf), and topped out at 4 percent in New Hampshire.
So Buttigieg’s got a ways to go before converting the early buzz into a real campaign. But the buzz is definitely getting louder.