How Pete Buttigieg Found Support in Iowa’s Formerly Anti-LGBTQ Communities

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02/03/2020

Pete Buttigieg doesn’t often remind people that he’s running a historic presidential campaign. The 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has emphasized an easy-to-like persona: a nice-guy Midwesterner with middle-of-the-road policies and a bit of Obama-style hope-and-change rhetoric. As he campaigns across Iowa ahead of Monday’s caucuses, he doesn’t make much of the fact that he’s the first openly gay candidate with a serious chance of being the nominee of a major political party. That Mayor Pete’s sexuality isn’t a primary point of conversation in the 2020 race is a remarkable testament to how much LGBTQ rights have progressed over the past decade. And it’s even more striking in Iowa, where Buttigieg has centered his campaign on winning smaller, rural counties, places that just a decade ago were the epicenter of anti-LGBTQ sentiment in the state.

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