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Sunday Night Special Edition: Buttigieg IA's bus tour &Young's IN influence
“You’re gonna see a lot of me in Iowa,” Buttigieg said.
Days to 2020 Election: 364
Days to Iowa Caucuses: 91
Days to Indiana’s municipal elections: 1
THE WEEK AHEAD IN IMPORTANTVILLE: Indiana municipalities vote for mayors and city councils on Tuesday. Mayor Pete Buttigieg heads back to South Bend for Election Day. Vice President Mike Pence files Trump’s re-election papers in New Hampshire Thursday, just missing Buttigieg, who will start a four-day tour of the state on Friday.
WAVERLY, Iowa—As 568 people gathered inside Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School Sunday to hear Pete Buttigieg Sunday afternoon, Cake’s “The Distance,” a reliable track on his campaign playlist, reverberated throughout the lunchroom.
He’s going the distance.
The lyric might also capture Buttigieg’s optimism about the state of his campaign in here.
“You’re gonna see a lot of me in Iowa,” Buttigieg told the crowd a bit later.
Earlier in the day, he was contemplating a general election match up with Vice President Mike Pence. “If we wind up with President Pence,” Buttigieg told me, “I am as ready for that as I am President Trump.”
Granted, this all may be premature: Three months remain before the Iowa Caucuses, a political eternity. But Buttigieg seems to be surging in Iowa. A New York Times/Siena College poll of 439 likely Democratic caucusgoers shows Buttigieg in a strong third place, drafting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 1 percent (19%) and Massachusettes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (22%). The survey had a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.
On a three-day, open-press bus tour of eastern Iowa, you could see that something seems to be happening here for Buttigieg. He drew a thousand people in Decorah on Saturday, a town that flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016 and 276 people in Charles City, another town that flipped.
In Decorah, I talked with Deb Tekipe, 63, who told me she sees similarities between Buttigieg and former President Obama, particularly in Buttigieg’s easy rapport with a town hall audience. “Pete’s in the same direction like that, definitely in terms of younger voters,” Tekipe told me. "She likes his Midwestern vernacular.
“He’s one of us,” she said.
A few other bits of Indiana specific news so far from the trip:
Buttigieg onAmy Coney Barrett, the 7th Circuit Appeals judge, Note Dame law professor and fellow South Bender topping Trump’s SCOTUS shortlist if he would get another pick: “I don't know her personally. What I know about her judicial philosophy I cannot picture her on my Supreme Court.”
Buttigieg on embattled fellow Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer—who faces eight charges, including intimidation and recently endorsed Buttigieg: “The alleged behavior is extremely disturbing,” he said of his fellow Hoosier mayor.”
Good Sunday evening, and welcome to IMPORTANTVILLE. I have a few minutes to file before Buttigieg’s next event begins in Mason City, and thought I’d get this in your inboxes before a busy morning on the road.
WHERE’S VEEP? He travels to Mississippi to stump for GOP gubernatorial candidate Tate Reeves and State Treasurer candidate David McCrae in Biloxi. He’ll visit New Hampshire on Thursday to file for Trump to enter the state's Feb. 11 primary.
WHERE’S PETE? He finishes up an Iowa bus tour with stops in Mason City, Algona, and Spencer, before heading back to South Bend.
INDIANAPOLIS MAYOR'S RACE
A day out from Election Day here, Indiana GOPers have all but left State Sen. Jim Merritt for dead—Gov. Eric Holcomb didn’t campaign with him this weekend!—in his quixotic quest to unseat Democrat Mayor Joe Hogsett.
With polls showing the race at a 30-point margin in Hogsett’s favor, it’s worth noting that Hogsett’s alliance with Marion Co. City-County Council President Vop Osili may be back in the spotlight soon.
A win for Hogsett could solidify Vop as Council President—a position that has seen upheaval in recent years. Osili has contributed more than $100,000 to the coordinated campaign effort, and incumbents and challengers alike will likely credit him, and the mayor, for a big win if it comes on Tuesday.
INSIDE TODD YOUNG'S POLITICAL YEAR
Sen. Todd Young has been busy with his duties as National Republican Senate Committee, but that hasn’t kept him from supporting Indiana candidates up and down the ballot.
A look at his political efforts this year so far:
Young keynoted 10 events for local Indiana GOP county parties and headlined fundraising events for Mayoral nominees in Ft. Wayne, Evansville, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Marion, Valparaiso, Portage and Princeton.
He also headlined fundraising events for Evansville City Council candidates and Indianapolis GOP Council Leader Mike McQuillen.
He also headlined events for State Sens. John Ruckelshaus and Justin Busch who are up for re-election in 2020.
His Oorah Political Action Committee made contributions to Mark Seabrook (New Albany) and Dave Miller (Elkhart) as well as Tim Smith (Ft. Wayne) and Jim Merritt (Indianapolis).
Reid J. Epstein and Lisa Lerer, New York Times: “Warren and Buttigieg Surge in Iowa at Expense of Sanders and Biden”
For months, the presidential race in Iowa was a contest between two titans of the Democratic political world, each representing distinct poles of a party struggling to define its identity in the Trump era.
Now, with just three months to go before the caucuses, the ideological debate has remained the same, but the key players have shifted.
For now, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is being eclipsed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Ind., a Midwestern mayor less than half his age who has captured the energy of those looking for the party to move in a more centrist direction. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has seen much of the message that had lifted him to political fame in the 2016 primary contest co-opted by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Henry J. Gomez, Buzzfeed: “It Looks (And Sounds) Like Pete Buttigieg Has Caught Up To Joe Biden In Iowa”
Pete Buttigieg marched a throng of supporters — a group that started with more than 2,000, said one local police official — through the rainy streets of downtown Des Moines and into Wells Fargo Arena on Friday for Democrats’ biggest political event of the season.
On the way, they passed the city’s convention center, where Joe Biden addressed a much smaller crowd inside a ballroom that was at least a quarter empty before he led them to the Liberty & Justice Celebration over an enclosed bridge connected to the arena.
It was like that this weekend in the first caucus state: Buttigieg going one way, Biden another.
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana has acknowledged he needs to lure moderate and independent voters away from the 76-year-old former vice president to have any chance at being their party’s nominee for president. Biden was the polling leader in Iowa from this spring through the summer, with Buttigieg more often than not a distant fourth.
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