Pete Buttigieg Announced Black Support From People Who Didn’t Endorse Him, Says Report

Democratic presidential candidate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party Liberty & Justice Celebration on November 1, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Joshua Lott / Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has had a tough time gaining the support of black voters, thanks in part to his controversial job performance as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. In response, Buttigieg released “The Douglass Plan: A Comprehensive Investment in the Empowerment of Black America” in July. In late October, his campaign credited the plan to three prominent black figures — Tameika Devine, Ivory Thigpen, and Johnnie Cordero — as well as over 400 endorsers, Slate reports.

“There is one presidential candidate who has proven to have intentional policies designed to make a difference in the Black experience, and that’s Pete Buttigieg,” the open letter released with his plan read.

According to a report from The Intercept, both Thigpen and Cordero did not endorse Buttigieg or the plan.

“How it was rolled out was not an accurate representation of where I stand,” said Thigpen.

“I never endorsed that plan,” Cordero said, adding that he believes it’s “entirely presumptuous.”

While Devine endorsed the plan, she did not endorse Buttigieg. According to Devine, the suggestion of her alleged support of Buttigieg’s campaign was likely deliberate.

“I do think they probably put it out there thinking people wouldn’t read the fine print or wouldn’t look at the details or even contact the people and say, ‘Hey, you’re endorsing Mayor Pete?'”

According to Buttigieg’s campaign, the team sent the plan to the supporters and gave them the opportunity to opt-out and have their name removed from the list. In addition, an email about the plan’s release also reportedly suggested that the 400 supporters of the plan are “black South Carolinians,” but The Intercept reported that at least 184 of these alleged supporters were white.

In response to The Intercept’s report, Buttigieg’s campaign said it was clear that not every supporter of the plan was black and claimed it never gave the public impression that anyone was endorsing Buttigieg’s campaign.

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Before Buttigieg’s presidential run, he experienced problems with the black community in South Bend, which he presides over as mayor. A TYT Investigates report examined legal documents that suggested Buttigieg’s firing of the city’s first black police chief, Darryl Boykins, was the result of a plan concocted by white police officers. The alleged scheme involved pressuring Buttigieg using two of Buttigieg’s donors, Sam Hensley and Steve Luecke.

Despite his reported trouble with the black community, Buttigieg is currently fourth in the polls with an average of 8 percent support and has been steadily gaining momentum since October’s Democratic presidential debate.