ALGONA, Iowa (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is touting his centrist political outsider status in a final push to win over Iowa swing voters, an urgent task as he seeks to pull ahead of rivals in a tight race for the first state nominating contest.
In a rush of campaign events around Iowa this week ahead of its Feb. 3 caucuses, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, positioned himself as a refreshing alternative to other candidates with long records in Washington such as former Vice President and longtime U.S. Senator Joe Biden.
Folks - Mayor - President - City - Cities
“When folks ask me why is a mayor running for president whose city isn’t even one of the biggest cities in the country, my answer is always: That’s the point. We need more voices like that in Washington right now,” Buttigieg said on Wednesday to loud applause from a crowd of more than 700 people in Cedar Falls.
Peeling away votes from fellow moderate Biden is critical for Buttigieg, who needs a strong showing in Iowa to overcome weaker nationwide support, particularly with black voters.
Biden - Strength - Iowa - Opinion - Polls
Biden, 77, has shown renewed strength in recent Iowa opinion polls, while Buttigieg has lost much of the edge he enjoyed late last year. Buttigieg, who turns 38 on Sunday, also has less name recognition than his other top Democratic rivals, U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, who represents Iowa’s neighboring state of Minnesota.
As Buttigieg seeks to pull ahead in the tight race for the nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in November, his strategy includes aggressive outreach to swing voters who backed Trump in 2016 after supporting Democratic President Barack Obama.
Campaign - Series - Ads - Thursday - Part
The campaign said a new series of digital ads launched on Thursday focused in part on two-dozen Iowa counties that flipped from voting for Obama to Trump.
Buttigieg has modified a...
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