WASHINGTON — With Pete Buttigieg’s campaign saying he raised an impressive $7 million in the first fundraising quarter, the South Bend, Indiana mayor is looking more and more like a significant factor in the 2020 Democratic primary.
The main knock on his candidacy may be his lack of statewide or federal elected experience (South Bend’s population is only about 102,000). But it’s also worth noting that one fact about him is rarely treated as a liability: Buttigieg is openly gay and has been married to his husband, Chasten, since last June.
As recently as 2006, when Buttigieg was 24 years old, more than half of Americans said they would be “very uncomfortable” (34 percent) or have “reservations” (19 percent) about a gay or lesbian person running for president.
That year, just five percent said they’d be enthusiastic about an LGBT candidate, according to an NBC/WSJ poll. An additional 38 percent said they’d be “comfortable.”
These days? A majority of Americans say they’re just fine with a gay candidate.
A combined 68 percent are either enthusiastic (14 percent) or comfortable (54 percent) with a candidate who is gay or lesbian.