Virginia Democrat says Buttigieg could help party win back Midwest in 2020

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Thursday that South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) could help the party win back key states in the Midwest that President Trump carried in 2016.

“Hillary [Clinton] lost in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania,” Beyer, who in April became the first congressman to endorse Buttigieg, told Hill.TV. “I think a Pete Buttigieg candidacy gives us a chance to win those back.”

Beyer said that Buttigieg, a 2020 presidential candidate in a crowded Democratic field, understands the challenges of everyday Americans in the Midwest and knows what it takes to revitalize those communities.

“South Bend, especially, was one of those great middle America cities that was hit hard by de-industrialization, by globalism, by technology. So he understands what it’s like to try to bring those communities back,” Beyer said, noting the mayor’s strong approval ratings in the city.

But he acknowledged that Buttigieg has a long way to go in terms of gaining support, particularly among minorities.

“As a 37-year-old white male, he has a lot of work to do with the black community, which is an essential part not just of Democrats’ base but for American voting constituency,” he told Hill.TV.

Buttigieg stepped into the national spotlight after his widely hailed CNN town hall performance in March, and has generated media buzz with his appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and by garnering the attention of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey.

But he could be losing some of his momentum, according to recent polls. 

Even though a Suffolk University-Boston Globe poll released Tuesday showed him tied for second place in New Hampshire, recent Morning Consult and CNN polls indicated his national support has stalled at around 7 percent or 8 percent, behind several other candidates.

—Tess Bonn

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