The little-known mayor of South Bend, Indiana has emerged as one of the top candidates in the Democratic race for president, according to poll results and Democratic strategists.
The results of an Emerson poll of Iowa voters released over the weekend showed 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg has the third-highest amount of support among Democrats, putting him behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Democratic strategists agree Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate in the 2020 election, is a contender.
"A couple of weeks ago, I wasn't giving him any attention at all, in part because I didn't think he had a chance, but I am getting more and more intrigued," Democratic strategist Jim Manley told The Hill.
Added Democratic strategist Christy Setzer, "The Buttigieg Boomlet is real. He's everywhere, he's authentic, and he's interesting and counterintuitive in his message — all of which makes him both a media darling and a serious source of intrigue for primary voters."
New York author and socialite Molly Jong-Fast, a supporter of Buttigieg, told NBC News he is the party's future regardless of what happens in 2020.
"It's so diametrically opposed to everything Trump," she said. "Even if Pete is not the candidate, he is the future of the Democratic Party."
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