Buttigieg supporter asks to take back vote after learning he’s gay

An Iowa voter who had sought to support former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the state’s troubled caucuses on Monday changed her mind after learning he’s gay.

A Buttigieg precinct captain in Cresco, Iowa, is seen in video posted online telling the caucusgoer that a candidate’s sexuality shouldn’t matter after the woman asked to get her support card back. 

“I would like you to just dig deep inside and think, should it matter if it’s a woman or if it’s a man or if they’re heterosexual or homosexual, if you believe in what they say? That’s my question to you,” Nikki Heever asks the caucusgoer.

Howard County Democratic Party Chairwoman Laura Hubka shared the video on Twitter, calling Heever a “wonderful example of Cresco.” 

In the two-minute clip of the interaction, the caucusgoer is heard asking, “Are you saying that he has a same-sex partner, Pete?” 

She is told that yes, Buttigieg is married to a man. Heever tells the woman that it is “common knowledge” after the caucusgoer said she had never heard that before.

“Are you kidding? Then I don’t want anybody like that in the White House. So can I have my card back?” the voter asks. 

“I don’t know, you signed it — we could go ask,” Heever responds. “The whole point of it though, he’s a human being, right, just like you and me, and it shouldn’t really matter.”

Heever also told the caucusgoer that she respects her viewpoint, but emphasized their — and Buttigieg’s — shared Christian faith.

“I just ask you to look inside your heart, because you sound like a Christian woman to me and I’m a Christian woman and my God wants me to love everybody,” Heever said. 

“But what I teach my son, is that love is love and we’re all human beings.” 

Neither Heever nor a spokesperson for Buttigieg’s campaign immediately responded to requests for comment.

Buttigieg has noted the historic nature of his campaign as the first openly gay major Democratic presidential candidate. His husband, Chasten Buttigieg, has joined him across the country as the former mayor looks to become the party nominee to face President Trump in November.   

Early Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa Democratic Party still had not released official results from Monday night’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, blaming reporting issues on an app. 

Buttigieg, however, gave a speech essentially declaring victory based off of his campaign’s internal numbers. 

“So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done, Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” Buttigieg told supporters Monday night. “Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.” 

It’s not yet clear how Buttigieg performed in Howard County, where the interaction took place between the caucusgoer and the precinct captain, but it is one of the critical swing districts Democrats will likely be eyeing in the general election. 

Howard is one of the counties that flipped between backing former President Obama in 2012 to going for then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. With a population of about 9,300, it was won by both Obama and Trump by more than 20 points, according to FiveThirtyEight.

—Updated at 1:36 p.m.

Tags 2020 campaign 2020 election 2020 Iowa caucuses Barack Obama Donald Trump Homophobia Iowa Iowa caucuses Nikki Heever Pete Buttigieg

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video