- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg saw the largest-ever day of fundraising for his 2020 presidential campaign in the wake of a widely praised CNN town hall appearance.

According to a Buttigieg aide, over 22,000 donors contributed more than $600,000 in the 24 hours following the little-known mayor’s performance Sunday, which many top Democrats heralded as a gain in momentum for his campaign.

“I’m thrilled by the support we’ve received over the last day,” Mr. Buttigieg said in a statement. “We’re not accepting corporate PAC money and we don’t have the gilded fundraising base that comes with being a more established figure in Washington, so grass-roots fundraising will be crucial for this effort.

“It’s clear there’s a real appetite for a new kind of messenger in our party, and I am working hard to seek new audiences and further expand our growing base,” he said.

The haul bodes well for Mr. Buttigieg’s chances of making it to the candidate debate stages. Per the Democratic National Committee’s new rules, qualifying for the first two debates requires either meeting one percent in three different DNC-approved polls or bringing in at least 65,000 separate donors. The mayor polled at one percent in a recent CNN poll.

CNN held three town hall events Sunday during the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, for Mr. Buttigieg and two other Democratic candidates, former Rep. John Delaney and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Mr. Buttigieg was the only one of the candidates to ask for donations during his town hall.

Mr. Buttigieg spent his hour sharing his liberal policies, including eliminating the Electoral College, addressing climate change and increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to 15.

He also criticized Vice President Mike Pence for becoming “the cheerleader of the porn star presidency” and said he wanted President Trump to be defeated “decisively by the ballot box” instead of impeached.

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said he has “rarely seen a candidate make better use of televised town hall.”

“Crisp, thoughtful and relatable. He’ll be a little less of a long shot tomorrow,” Mr. Axelrod tweeted.

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