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Elorza endorses Pete Buttigieg for president

Despite support from nearly 60 mayors, Buttigieg slow to take off on campus

By
Metro Editor
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joined nearly 60 current and former mayors nationwide to endorse Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, for president.

“Pete has the life experience and the executive experience to be the unite(r)-in-chief that our country needs,” reads a statement from Elorza’s office released Wednesday afternoon. “Pete’s entire life story sets him apart from the field and makes him the best positioned candidate to take on Trump.”

Elorza’s endorsement came hours after over 50 mayors from 26 states voiced their support for Buttigieg in an op-ed published in USA Today. The Buttigieg campaign plans to launch a program called ‘Mayors for Pete,’ which would provide infrastructure for mayors across the country to mobilize their constituents in support of Buttigieg’s candidacy, according to Elorza’s release. But despite his endorsements from across the country, no mayor from Massachusetts, Vermont or Delaware — the home states of current Democratic frontrunners Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden  — has given an endorsement.

In the op-ed, the mayors praised Buttigieg’s experience holding executive office, his willingness to work across partisan lines and his focus on climate change. While Buttigieg’s critics condemn his fraught relationship with the black community in South Bend, the mayors wrote that he “is deeply invested in making sure every American is heard and feels they belong — especially in marginalized communities.”

Buttigieg, once a long-shot candidate for the nation’s highest office, gained traction last spring for his quiet charisma and impressive accolades — a Rhodes Scholar and lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve — for someone only 37 years old. But Buttigieg, who has attempted to structure his campaign around generational change, has yet to sweep college campuses — Brown included. A spring 2019 Harvard Institute of Politics study showed Buttigieg polling at 1 percent among voters aged 18 to 29, and the mayor is currently polling at less than 7 percent nationally, according to a more recent poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal. At Brown, students have started to mobilize around Warren and Sanders, but there is little visible grassroots organizing on campus for Buttigieg, who would be the first openly gay president if elected.

“We are not allowed to take sides in primaries,” President of Brown College Democrats Zoe Mermelstein ’21 previously told The Herald.

Pete for America did not respond to request for comment Wednesday night.

The Rhode Island primary is set to take place on April 28, 2020.