Pete Buttigieg raised $7 million for his presidential bid in April, an eye-opening total that is likely to put the South Bend, Ind. mayor among the top fundraisers in the 2020 Democratic primary field.
The fundraising haul, disclosed to donors in a conference call last month, was first reported Monday by Politico. It highlights Buttigieg's explosive evolution from a relatively unknown candidate to a national political figure since announcing his presidential campaign in January.
A spokesperson for Buttigieg confirmed the fundraising haul to Salon.
The huge April haul is a good sign for Buttigieg, who is vying to become the country's first openly gay president, ahead of June 30, when books close for the second quarter of 2019. Campaigns have until July 15 to file their second-quarter reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The millennial mayor is expected to keep his momentum going with a big second-quarter haul that at least doubles his last campaign finance report, Politico reported. His second-quarter fundraising total could establish the 37-year-old as one of the top fundraisers vying to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020 and solidifying his transformation from a long-shot candidate at the beginning this year. Buttigieg announced in April that he had raised $7 million in his first three months in the presidential race.
Buttigieg has consistently polled in the top five nationally this year after he broke through the crowded Democratic primary field following a series of viral moments. He made headlines after he was seen on video answering a question from a Norwegian reporter in the country's language (one of the seven the mayor can speak), speaking candidly with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow about his experiences in coming out as gay, publicly criticizing a pair of Fox News hosts while appearing on the network and responding to a message from a deaf supporter in sign language.
Still, Buttigieg will have to contend with other prolific fundraisers in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., raised over $18 million in the first three months of the year, despite only jumping into the presidential race in mid-February. And former vice president Joe Biden, who did not announce his candidacy until late April and did not have to file a first-quarter fundraising report, is expected to raise an eye-popping second-quarter sum after he smashed the 2020 Democratic field's first-day fundraising record by reporting he raised $6.3 million in the first 24 hours after launching his presidential campaign.
If Buttigieg comes out on top in 2020, he is pretty certain he will not be the nation's first gay president. Speaking to Axios for its HBO program, the small town mayor was asked how he is going to respond to people who attack him during the presidential campaign for being too young, too liberal or too gay to be president of the United States of America.
"We have had excellent presidents, who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal. I would imagine we've probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn't know which ones," Buttigieg said, adding that it was statistically "almost certain" that there had been gay presidents. However, he did not name names.
"My gaydar even doesn't work that well in the present, let alone retroactively," he said.