Pete Buttigieg to return to Iowa City Saturday

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Meet Pete in Johnson County

Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon, Iowa City — Saturday, May 18 at 12:30 p.m.

Pete Buttigieg visits with Iowa Citians following a campaign event at The Airliner. March 4, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend Indiana and 2020 presidential candidate, will make a second campaign stop in Iowa City Saturday, May 18.

Buttigieg will hold a meet-and-greet at Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon (Walleye Dr SE, Iowa City) beginning at 12:30 p.m. That the country-themed restaurant and event space is more spacious than the Airliner, Buttigieg’s last Iowa City stop, is fitting — the candidate’s star has risen considerably since early March.

Buttigieg entered the presidential race as an underdog: He lacked the national name recognition of a Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden, and no one has ever made the leap from mayor to U.S. president in a single swoop. If elected, Buttigieg would also be the youngest president in U.S. history (he is 37, just nine months younger than fellow Democratic candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard), and the first openly gay president.

“I understand we’re accustomed to seeing people who have marinated in Washington for a long time. That we’re accustomed to seeing people maybe with a different background than local government,” Buttigieg said at his March 4 event at the Airliner. “But I would argue that if we got Washington to look more like our best-run cities and towns, instead of the other way around, this would be a better country to live in.”

Days after his Iowa City stop, Buttigieg grabbed national attention in the March 11 CNN Town Hall, during which he criticized Vice President Mike Pence as hypocritical for supporting the “porn star presidency” of Donald Trump while advocating for Christian values.

“His interpretation of scripture is pretty different than mine to begin with,” Buttigieg said. “My understanding of scripture is that it’s about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea. That’s what I get in the gospel when I’m at church and his has a lot more to do with sexuality.”

A bump in donations to the Buttigieg campaign followed the CNN town hall, and within a week, Buttigieg announced he had crossed the 65,000-donor threshold to participate in upcoming Democratic candidate debates. In mid-April, “Mayor Pete” even eclipsed Senators Warren and Kamala Harris in support, according to polls averaged by FiveThirtyEight.

Buttigieg has voiced support for the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, the abolition of the Electoral College and the Equality Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Friday.

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