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Buttigieg Addresses Lack Of Support From Black Voters

Mary Margaret Olohan on January 14, 2020

2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg addressed his lack of support from black voters Tuesday night at a Democratic debate.

The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor responded to a question from CNN moderator Abby Phillip on his lack of support from black voters and said that “black voters who know me best are supporting me.”

“Buttigieg, you have had trouble earning support of black voters because you are unknown,” Phillip told him. “You have been campaigning for a year. You have next to no black support — support you need in order to beat [President] Donald Trump. Is it possible black voters have gotten to know you and decided to choose another candidate?” 

Phillip’s question follows news that internal focus groups Buttigieg’s campaign conducted in October found that black voters in South Carolina see the mayor’s sexuality as a “barrier.”

“The black voters who know me best are supporting me,” Buttigieg responded. “It’s why I have the most support in South Bend, and among elected black officials in my community who have gotten into this race, by far most of them are supporting me.

The former mayor added that the “biggest mistake we can make is to take black votes for granted.”

I never will,” he said. “The reason I have the support I do is not because any voter thinks I’m perfect, it’s because of the work that we have done facing some of the toughest issues that communities can.” 

Buttigieg added that he recognizes his campaign has a “much longer way to go” and that he will be a president whose personal commitment is to continue doing this work.”

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