Pete Buttigieg, the first openly-gay presidential candidate in U.S. history, met with LGBTQ voters in a Massachusetts town hall where he received what Yahoo News writer Beth Greenfield called a “hero’s welcome.”
Provincetown, Massachusetts, is a well-to-do beachside community on the northern tip of Cape Cod. It is also a vacation destination popular with the LGBTQ community, so much so that Greenfield calls it “the gayest ZIP code in America.”
There, the South Bend, Indiana mayor was greeted enthusiastically by the voting bloc he’s almost sure to resonate with most. The little bohemian community of art galleries and bookstores was filled with flags welcoming the candidate. And at a town hall-style meeting with area residents and visitors, a meeting attended by an overwhelmingly-LGBTQ audience, Pete owned the day.
Some 700 people crowded into the sold-out 1886 Town Hall to meet with the candidate, where he was introduced by his husband, Chasten. In addition to meeting with voters, he also met with people whose vote he can’t count on because they’re not old enough to vote yet: LGBTQ teenagers, who had been attending a summer sleepaway camp and who had front-row seats reserved just for them.
Speaking to the teens, Buttigieg said that they shouldn’t look towards the future when they can vote. Rather, they should focus on what they can do now, telling them, “You are the present.”
I’m in Provincetown covering Pete Buttigieg’s town hall at 4pm. Have already seen a few “Pete 2020” shirts and this drawn on the window of The Canteen restaurant @BostonGlobe pic.twitter.com/oIRei07cb3
— Aidan Ryan (@AidanRyanNH) July 5, 2019
Answering questions pulled from a jar, Buttigieg hit on many of the same talking points that other Democratic presidential candidates have been advocating: health care, climate change, and student loan debt. As to LGBTQ issues, Buttigieg joked that he was “preaching to the choir” when it came to his platform on the issue.
Bryan Rafanelli, who owns a home in Provincetown, called Buttigieg’s candidacy history-making.
“This extraordinary man is going to do great things for this country. This guy is the real deal. He’s wildly impressive, highly intelligent. But the way he can actually process information and ideas and policy and speak to a crowd is something I have not seen since President Obama.”
Besides getting the emotional support of Provincetown’s LGBTQ community, he got something considerably more precious: their financial support. Rafanelli says that Buttigieg’s Provincetown stop netted $335,000 to his campaign fund. That’s on top of the $25 million he’s already raised, the most of any of the crowded field of 2020 Democrats.
Though he’s resonated strongly with his base and raised an impressive amount of money, Buttigieg still trails behind Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in the polls.