Buttigieg ramps up campaign in Nevada, South Carolina

Buttigieg ramps up campaign in Nevada, South Carolina
© Greg Nash

Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCindy McCain joins board of Biden's presidential transition team Billionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - GOP closes ranks to fill SCOTUS vacancy by November MORE is ramping up his efforts in Nevada and South Carolina as he looks to make inroads in two states that pose some of the most difficult challenges to his presidential ambitions. 

The former South Bend, Ind., mayor's campaign said on Wednesday that it would double its organizing efforts in Nevada ahead of the state’s caucuses one week from Saturday. In South Carolina, the fourth state to vote in the Democratic nominating contest, his campaign is set to add another 55 staffers across its six field offices.

The staffing announcement came hours after Buttigieg notched a close second-place finish in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, falling to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden clash over health care as debate begins Biden calls Trump a 'liar' and a 'clown' at first debate Biden mocks Trump campaign debate claims: 'I've got my earpiece and performance enhancers ready' MORE (I-Vt.) by less than 2 percentage points. He also finished first in the troubled Iowa caucuses last week after securing the lead in the state’s delegate count.

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Buttigieg’s early successes in the nominating contests have given him a burst of momentum nationally. Most polls still show him running behind other top contenders like Sanders and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE, though the race appears to be tightening. 

Nevada and South Carolina, however, pose a different set of challenges for Buttigieg. Both states have high proportions of minority voters, with whom the former South Bend mayor has struggled to gain significant support. 

His campaign said on Wednesday that it would increase its digital and television advertising investments in Nevada, and launch a new TV spot in the state highlighting his “Medicare for All Who Want it” plan, which calls for creating a voluntary public health care option. 

Buttigieg’s campaign also announced a new endorsement from South Carolina state Rep. J.A. Moore (D). 

The moves in South Carolina come as Biden is looking to cement his status as the front-runner in the Palmetto State following worse-than-expected performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. The former vice president has maintained significant support from black voters, who make up more than half of South Carolina’s Democratic primary electorate. 

Buttigieg, meanwhile, has struggled to court those voters. A Quinnipiac University national poll released this week showed him with only 4 percent support among black voters. Those voters will play a crucial role in choosing the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.