As the Democratic presidential candidates take to the debate stage tonight, expect Mayor Pete Buttigieg to take some incoming fire after recent polls show him surging in two early voting states.
Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate to take the lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
The latest polling from Monmouth University for the upcoming Iowa caucus’ was first to show out Mayor Pete in the top spot.
That poll showed the South Bend mayor ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden by 3 points and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for 4 points.
Here are the results – the numbers in parenthesis represent standing when combining first and second place results:
• Mayor Pete Buttigieg 22% (37)
• Former Vice President Joe Biden 19% (29)
• Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 18% (35)
• Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 13% (25)
• Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) 5% (14)
• Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) 3% (9)
• Billionaire Tom Steyer 3% (6)
• Entrepreneur Andrew Yang 3% (4)
The latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll shows Mayor Pete Buttigieg has jumped 16 points since the Register’s last poll to land at the top of the Democratic presidential field.
• Mayor Pete Buttigieg 25%
• Sen. Elizabeth Warren 16%
• Former Vice President Joe Biden 15%
• Sen. Bernie Sanders 15%
• Sen. Amy Klobuchar 6%
And in New Hampshire, the Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll released last night shows Buttigieg opening up a ten-point lead over his competitors with 25 percent support.
Biden and Warren tied in second place with 15 percent, and Sanders drops to 9 percent support.
Despite all that good news for Buttigieg and his campaign team, there have been some not-so-great bumps in the road.
For one, video from a 2010 ‘Meet the Candidates Night’ during his attempt to become Indiana state treasurer has re-emerged on Twitter. The event was hosted by two Republican groups with connections to the Tea Party.
In the video, Buttigieg says in his opening remarks: “There are some, especially in my party, who think that the Tea Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. But there are many others who believe that the Tea Party is motivated by real concerns about the direction of our government and the responsiveness of our government to citizens. and above all, a frustration with business as usual. That is what motivated me to run.” He also notes, “We may come from often very different perspectives.”
Some progressive Twitter warriors have called the remarks “disqualifying.”
But there’s some backstory to this appearance. It seems Buttigieg’s opponent wouldn’t debate him, so Pete went to the ‘Meet the Candidates’ event as his only chance to share a stage with his opponent.
And if you watch the video clip, he doesn’t say he embraces the Tea Party. He makes a point to say he “comes from a very different perspective” while admitting people from both parties share frustrations about government being run as “business as usual.”
In fact, President Obama said something very similar just a short time later when he addressed an MTV/BET Town Hall.
“I think there are a lot of people who are involved in the Tea Party who have very real and sincere concerns about spending that’s out of control or generally philosophically believe that the government should be less involved in certain aspects of American life rather than more involved,” said Obama. “And they have every right and obligation as citizens to be involved and engaged in this process.”
The mayor’s campaign was also criticized for using a stock photo of Kenyan woman in materials released with his plan to address U.S. racism, “The Douglass Plan.”
In any case, you can certainly expect one of the mayor’s opponents to bring up some of these nuggets tonight during the Democratic debate tonight hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post.
The two-hour debate is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.