Buttigieg leads in most rural counties in Iowa
Pete Buttigieg leads in most rural counties in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses, as illustrated by a map published in The New York Times.
The Associated Press has not declared a winner, and both Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have declared themselves victorious.
“What Mayor Pete put together was outstanding and he went way beyond where I thought he would be getting his support,” Ed Redfern, an Iowa lobbyist and former Republican aide, told The Hagstrom Report in an email today. “Especially in all those rural areas.”
Buttigieg, 38, may have won the rural areas by doing what Democratic strategists have said Democratic presidential candidates need to do: show up.
“Much of his success can be traced to geography and timing. While Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren focused their campaigns on Iowa’s cities and college towns and Mr. Biden never developed a strong organization, Mr. Buttigieg went everywhere,” The New York Times said today.
“He held more events over more days in Iowa than his top three rivals, two of whom were sidelined by the Senate impeachment trial, and watched the investment pay off by running strong in the Des Moines suburbs and across rural Iowa,” the Times reported.
“Buttigieg held more than 50 town halls over three weeks, tracked on the wall of his campaign headquarters by an increasingly thick forest of green push-pins marking a map of Iowa with the places the mayor had visited,” Politico noted in an election analysis.
“He did well in the suburbs, he did well in the rural counties and he did well along the Mississippi River, areas that are blue-collar, manufacturing centers,” Jeff Link, an Iowa-based strategist who didn’t work for a candidate in the 2020 caucuses, told Politico. “His unity message struck a chord.”
Buttigieg also benefited from the caucus system of awarding state delegates loosely, which mimics the Electoral College, Politico noted, which Buttigieg says he wants to eliminate.
“Among the top four candidates, only Buttigieg and [former Vice President Joe] Biden performed better in precincts the smaller and more rural they got, while Sanders and [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren [D-Mass.] did worse,” according to a Politico analysis of the Iowa results.
CNN said, “Buttigieg’s performance in Iowa solidifies his rise from a small city mayor who won his second term with a mere 8,500 votes to a major force in Democratic politics”
“In the exit polls, the fresh-faced mayor who was promising a more positive politics showed strength across rural, urban and suburban areas, as well as the 31 ‘pivot counties’ that voted for Obama and then flipped to Trump.
“He proved to be a palatable second choice within Iowa’s complex caucus system, where voters must choose a second candidate if their first choice doesn’t meet the 15% viability threshold.”