Buttigieg’s Iowa success unleashes emotion and commentary on his gay identity

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02/08/2020

Within moments of Pete Buttigieg officially finishing at the top of the Iowa caucuses this week, the LGBTQ Victory Fund announced its conclusion: “America is ready for the first openly gay president!” A few hours later, Buttigieg himself spoke lovingly of his husband, Chasten, in an unusually emotional way, saying at a CNN town hall that “I quite simply couldn’t do it without him,” as he looked on affectionately from the audience. As a result, Buttigieg and his allies are effectively posing a question many Americans have never considered: Are they ready to elect a gay president? “The whispered comments in this campaign have been, ‘Well, he’s a great guy, he’s a great candidate, and I’ll vote for him, but I don’t think other Democrats will,’ ” said Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund. Iowa, she said, showed that Buttigieg could attract rural and conservative voters: “This win was an opportunity to just blow that conversation up.”

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