Though he doesn’t yet have the ability to draw tens of thousands to his political events like President Donald Trump, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign scored a win in Iowa this weekend after a reported 2,000 supporters showed up at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center to see the mayor speak about his 2020 presidential ambitions.
According to The Hill, the Buttigieg campaign said the official number of attendees came from the Coralville Fire Department. In an email to his supporters following the event, Buttigieg proudly boasted that it was one of the “largest rallies yet” on his march to win the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election.
“Everywhere we go, I see the momentum building for this campaign. Because everywhere I go, there are Americans looking for a new approach to unifying our country with hope and urgency,” the fundraising email said.
Sean Savett, a campaign spokesman for the candidate, also bragged on Buttigieg’s previous events in the crucial early-voting state, citing crowds that numbered over 1,000 for previous campaign stops. In Davenport, Buttigieg managed to bring in 1,000 supporters and in Mount Vernon, he drew just slightly over that.
In the small town of Washington, the Indiana Democrat managed to draw 400 to an event which was apparently so significant that the former local mayor of the town claimed it was one of the largest crowds she had ever witnessed there.
“Sandra Johnson, former Mayor of Washington, IA and other folks here have told me that @PeteButtigieg’s crowd was the largest crowd this county has seen in their lifetimes,” Buttigieg’s regional organizing director Blake Reinken tweeted.
One doesn’t have to look far to connect the reason for the increased crowd sizes for the up-and-coming 2020 Democrat, as a number of recent polls have revealed a significant surge in the candidate’s polling numbers in the “Hawkeye State.”
As The Hill reported, the current Real Clear Politics rolling average for Buttigieg in the critical early state has him at 24 percent of support, trouncing both Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, who scored 17.7 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively.
Buttigieg also currently leads in New Hampshire, another crucial early-voting state for any presidential candidate, with 20 percent of support, with Sen. Bernie Sanders in second place at 17 percent of support. As in Iowa, Warren and Biden both trail the South Bend mayor by several points in the state.
News of Buttigieg’s good fortune comes after his campaign grabbed headlines for announcing that they would be returning several thousand dollars in donations they received from lawyers who represented Brett Kavanaugh during his fiery Senate confirmation hearings last year.
At the time, a campaign spokesperson apologized for not catching the donations in time and vowed to return them after the matter was brought to their attention.