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Election 2020

Pete Buttigieg Officially Enters 2020 Presidential Campaign

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(CNN) — On Sunday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — the fastest-rising Democratic candidate in the large and growing field of presidential hopefuls — officially announced his presidential campaign, exiting the lengthy exploratory portion of his 2020 bid at an event inside the once bustling Studebaker plant that, when hollowed out after the company left in 1963, was a tangible symbol of his hometown’s march toward decay.


“My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg told a cheering crowd. “I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States.”

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Buttigieg: The mayor has crisscrossed the country looking to seize on the boost he received from a well-reviewed CNN town hall in early March, hopscotching between early nominating states and a string of fundraisers in Democratic strongholds like San Francisco, Chicago and New York. The uptick in interest among Democratic heavyweights has followed a similar uptick in polls, where Buttigieg has gone from receiving less than 1% of support to solidly standing among candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.

“What we’ve seen as we’ve explored is that we’re exploring some really beautiful territory and now it’s time to make it official and announce a decision,” Buttigieg said on Friday as he made his way back to South Bend after a whirlwind trip through California that included an appearance on “Ellen” and a top dollar fundraiser in the Bay Area.

“We’ve been talked about in the 2020 context in a pretty big way for going on a month now,” Buttigieg said. “Then again, if you want to talk about a period of time where you really learn how seriously your effort will be taken and how much momentum you can put together and the resources you can put together, a month isn’t that long at the time.”

Buttigieg announced the exploratory committee at a January news conference in Washington, DC. He told CNN in late March that while, “all of the indicators are pointing” toward an official campaign, “a launch is something you only get to do once, and we’re not going to do that until we have all of the pieces in place.”

Buttigieg will make the announcement on Sunday at Studebaker Building 84, a newly renovated mixed-use building that once housed Studebaker, an auto-manufacturing company that was headquartered in South Bend until it shuttered in 1963.

That wasn’t always the plan: Initially, Buttigieg’s nascent team has planned to basically shut down parts of South Bend’s downtown and hold an outdoor rally in the heart of the city center that has been revived under the mayor’s tenure. Rain and wind meant they had to change plans, but Buttigieg said there is a silver lining in the change.

“The rain location may be a blessing in disguise because there is such symbolic power in that building and you can see in it the past, the present and the future,” he said. “I talk so much about how we’re not looking to turn back the clock and it’s not about retrieving some impossible again. That building is kind of a living symbol of all of that.”

The building has recently been repurposed. It now anchors South Bend’s Renaissance District and houses a mix of technology companies, including South Bend Code School and an Amazon Web Services company, a symbol — Buttigieg is expected to say — of how his leadership as mayor over the last eight years helped revitalize portions of the city.

A senior aide says he will focus on two key topics: The need for generational change in the country and the argument that he is an entirely different political figure at a time when the American people are looking for something different in their politics.

Although Buttigieg is making his announcement official on Sunday, he officially dropped “exploratory” from his committee with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.

Buttigieg’s committee has been shoestring for months. According to the Buttigieg aide, the committee currently has 32 people on staff and plans to get to 45 or 50 staffers by the end of the month.

That initially small staff has meant the mayor has spent very little of the $7 million his team raised in 2019’s first fundraising quarter. According to the aide, Buttigieg’s first quarter fundraising report will show he only has a burn rate of less than 10%, a number far smaller than other candidates, like Warren, whose campaign announced earlier this month her burn rate was more than 85%.

“Pete’s a different kind of candidate and we want to build a different kind of campaign,” said Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s campaign manager. “We don’t want to a top down, consultant-laden operation. We want to be more like a startup, and we want to build in a smart way and a steady way.”

The campaign has already opened a campaign headquarters in South Bend, two small suites in the Jefferson Centre building. The campaign also has plans to open a small office in Chicago, where a few aides will live and, given the relatively small size of South Bend’s airport, the candidate and campaign aides will work ahead of flights around the country.

“He made a very big impression on, I think, everyone. He is very authentic, and this is what people are craving,” she said. “That is one thing he has in common with the current president: What you see is what you get. Otherwise, they are complete opposites.”

The mayor has also not been the only Buttigieg to experience a bump in notoriety. So, too, has Chasten Buttigieg, the mayor’s husband and a teacher, who has become an omnipresent feature of political Twitter and, according to aides, is slated to do a number of solo speeches, primarily to LGBTQ and education groups.

Election 2020

A “Schock For Congress?”: Aaron Schock Possibly Making New Run For Congress

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Scandal-ridden former Republican representative, Aaron Schock, may be planning to run for Congress again.

A Statement of Organization was filed last week with the Federal Election Commission for the “Schock for Congress” campaign, LGBTQNation reported.

Schock, 37, is listed as the campaign treasurer upon the documents, even though the campaign reportedly has no funds.

The politician served as a US Representative from Illinois from 2009 to 2015. However he resigned after being accused of misusing campaign and public funds.

Ethics investigation

He was also the subject of a congressional ethics investigation and was indicted by a federal grand jury.

Federal prosecutors dropped charges earlier this year in exchange for paying $110,000 in restitution and taxes.

At the time, the Republican told CBS News that he hadn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to politics at some point in the future.

‘At 37-years-old, I don’t think I’ll ever say never,” said Schock. He added that he had “enjoyed being out of politics the last four years.’

Schock has proved a controversial figure among the LGBTI community. While in office, he campaigned against a number of issues including gays in the military, marriage equality, and LGBTI hate crimes.

However, although not openly gay, photographs have been widely circulated apparently showing Schock making out with a man in public while putting his hand down the man’s shorts.

(Reporting by Gay Star News)

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Election 2020

President Trump, Joe Biden Will Overlap in Iowa After Months of Jabbing Each Other

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US President Donald Trump (L); Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images (L); Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images (R)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After months of jabbing each other from afar, President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden will overlap Tuesday in Iowa, a state that’s critical to their political futures.


For Biden, a convincing win in next year’s caucuses would cement him as the Democratic front-runner and reinforce his chief argument that he is the party’s best-positioned candidate to beat Trump. The Republican president, meanwhile, is seeking to shore up his Iowa support as part of a broader effort to ensure the Midwestern states he snagged in 2016 remain in his column next year.

The battle for the Democratic nomination is early and fluid, and Biden has plenty of work ahead to hold his lead among Democrats in Iowa and nationally. But the two men’s convergence in a state that has swung between Democrats and Republicans over the past two decades could offer a glimpse into what a Trump-Biden matchup would look like if the former vice president prevails in his quest for the nomination.

“Both of them being around is a nice contrast for voters so that they can hear two different sides,” said Steve Drahozal, chairman of the Dubuque County Democratic Party.

Trump and Biden have been circling each other for months.

Trump, despite the private counsel of his advisers, has thrown a steady stream of public insults at Biden. Since March, Trump has mocked or criticized Biden on Twitter nearly 40 times.

In one of his most brazen attacks, during a recent state visit to Japan, Trump echoed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s description of Biden as “low-IQ.”

Biden, in turn, has hit at Trump. At a recent Houston fundraiser, Biden vowed not to “get down in the mud wrestling with this fella,” only to say later at the same event, “We all know this guy doesn’t know anything.”

On Tuesday, he’ll criticize the president’s economic policy as hurting those very voters who helped elect him.

“He thinks he’s being tough. Well, it’s easy to be tough when someone else is feeling the pain,” Biden says, in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday in blue collar Ottumwa, the seat of Wapello County.

Trump was the first Republican to carry the economically struggling county in southeast Iowa since Dwight Eisenhower.

“How many sleepless nights do you think Trump has had over what he’s doing to America’s farmers?” Biden asks, according to his prepared remarks. “Zero.”

For Trump, the biggest concern in this state dominated by agriculture interests could be trade. He begins his trip in Council Bluffs to tour and speak at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, which produces and sells the corn-based fuel additive ethanol, before addressing an Iowa GOP dinner in Des Moines.

He’s expected to highlight his efforts to help farmers hurt financially from Chinese tariffs on U.S. agriculture products, measures that were imposed last year after Trump slapped levies on Chinese imports.

Trump also is likely to try to sell farmers on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, which remains to be ratified by lawmakers in each country. Supporters of the deal, which is an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement, feared that Trump’s recent threat to impose tariffs on Mexico over illegal immigration would jeopardize the pact’s passage by U.S. lawmakers. But Trump announced an agreement with Mexico late last week and delayed the tariffs for the time being.

The president, however, has been stung by criticism that what he announced last Friday amounted to a ramping up of steps Mexico had already agreed to. He lashed out Monday in a pair of tweets in which he teased a secret deal with Mexico to be announced soon. Mexico countered that no secret deal was in the works.

For his part, Biden will be in Iowa just days after more than a dozen of his Democratic rivals were in the state for a party dinner. Several aimed veiled barbs at the former vice president, framing him as someone unable to bring the country into the future.

The trip comes after he roiled the Democratic contest last week by saying he supported a prohibition on federal funds supporting abortion. After an outcry from women’s groups and most other Democratic candidates, he backtracked and said he would support the repeal of the Hyde Amendment.

He will begin his trip campaigning in parts of southeast Iowa that were won by Barack Obama but that later embraced Trump.

It’s wise for Biden to campaign in Trump-won territory to reinforce his contention that he’s the best-suited Democrat to face Trump, said David Axelrod, a senior strategist to Obama.

“He continues to be the person at this juncture whom voters think can beat Trump. He seems like the least risky choice,” Axelrod said. “But too many episodes like last week and that riskiness factor is going to go up.”

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Election 2020

Montana Governor Steve Bullock Enters 2020 Democratic Presidential Race

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Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Democratic presidential candidate, officially announces his campaign for president Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Helena High School in Helena, Mont. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, distinguishing himself among nearly two dozen candidates as the field’s only statewide elected official to win a state that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.


The 53-year-old governor is running as a centrist Democrat who has advanced party values while navigating a Republican legislature and a GOP-leaning electorate. Bullock made his candidacy official in a video that capped months of speculationfueled by his political activity in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first presidential caucus next February.

“What we need to do is get the country back on track, make sure everybody has a fair shot at success,” he told The Associated Press in an interview. “I’ve been able to get meaningful things done that impact the people of my state. I believe there’ll be a strong reception for that.”

His immediate challenge is corralling enough donors and support in the polls to qualify for the first Democratic debate in June. He told reporters during an appearance at the high school from which he graduated that he hopes to do that over the next month, but he’ll still be out campaigning even if he doesn’t make the cut.

“The debate stage would be lacking a bit if they didn’t have somebody who actually got reelected in a state where Donald Trump won,” he said. “I’ll do the best I can to get there.”

More broadly, as a white Trump-state Democrat, Bullock could face an uphill battle to break through in a primary that has been defined by former Vice President Joe Biden’s dominance and the progressive energy of a diverse party base.

Bullock plans a two-tiered argument.

He pitches himself as the rare Democrat who can win over rural and small-town voters — a constituency that helped Trump flip key battleground states in 2016. Bullock has done it three times in Montana, where Democrat Hillary Clinton got just 36 percent of the vote against Trump.

“We need somebody who can win back some of these places we lost in ’16,” Bullock said, adding, “Voters want somebody that they believe can win, that will fight for them.”

Yet Bullock emphasizes that he governs with mainstream Democratic priorities. He has expanded Medicaid insurancecoverage to nearly a tenth of Montana’s 1.06 million residents as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and embraced marriage equality for same-sex couples. He’s used executive orders to extend LGBTQ rights and protect net neutrality, and he’s vetoed gun bills backed by the National Rifle Association and measures that would have severely limited abortion access.

He also has spent years advocating for tighter regulation of money in politics, unsuccessfully challenging the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling as attorney general and then, as governor, signing a law that requires dark-money groups operating in the state to disclose their donors. Last year, he sued the Internal Revenue Service over a Trump administration rule change to stop requiring the disclosure of donor information from certain nonprofit organizations.

He’s aligned himself with conservationists, environmental activists and outdoorsmen by prioritizing public land use and conservation — a key issue in many Western states. But he’s also been at odds with them at times as the leader of an energy-producing state, such as when he criticized the Obama administration for “moving the goalposts” by proposing stringent carbon dioxide emission reductions under the now-defunct Clean Power Plan.

His time in office has largely been scandal-free, with the occasional hiccup. Earlier this year, Bullock apologized for not doing enough to warn others about a longtime aide who was accused of sexually harassing women while working first for the Democratic Governors Association while Bullock was chairman and later for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.

Bullock’s attendance at a Paul McCartney concert in Missoula in 2014 also opened the door for critics to scrutinize his use of a state plane that resulted in his having to reimburse $7,000 for flights that mixed official business and campaign trips. The state’s campaign regulator determined Bullock’s 2016 reelection campaign violated state law by failing to make timely expense reports related to use of the plane.

Bullock joins Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as the only state executives vying for the nomination.

The Montana governor is likely among the final Democrats to join one of the biggest presidential fields in modern memory. De Blasio is expected to announce his decision this week on whether to run for the White House. And Stacey Abrams of Georgia continues to indulge speculation that she could scramble the field with a late launch this summer or fall.

Although he is not a household name, Bullock is well known and well regarded in Democratic circles beyond Montana. He currently chairs the bipartisan National Governors Association.

Some Democrats had hoped he’d challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines in 2020, but Bullock insisted Tuesday that he is focused solely on the presidential race.

“This isn’t for me a vanity project,” Bullock said. “I wouldn’t be getting into it if I didn’t think I had something really significant to offer.”

Bullock and his wife, Lisa, have three children, ages 16, 14 and 12, who attend the same Helena public schools where the governor was educated. Steve Bullock graduated from Claremont McKenna College in California and Columbia Law School. He spent part of his legal career in Montana state government and had stints at law firms in Washington, D.C., and New York, and his own private practice in Helena, before being elected attorney general in 2008. He won the governor’s race with 48 percent of the vote in 2012 and was reelected with 50.2 percent of the vote the same day that Trump won 56.2 percent of presidential ballots.

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