One could argue that the Democratic Presidential Primary started on January 20, 2017, the day Donald Trump was inaugurated. No matter what campaign start date you use, voters have been waiting a long time to make their 2020 choice. As voters in Iowa prepare to Caucus, we wanted to take a break from campaigning and share our favorite Pete Buttigieg moments. Enjoy!
MOMENT ONE: Mayor Pete addresses LGBTQ Victory Fund’s National Champagne Brunch
Okay, we’re a little biased, but this is our favorite Pete moment. Before he officially announced his campaign bid, Pete tugged at our heart strings during our National Champagne Brunch. In a now famous declaration, Pete addressed Vice President Pence’s homophobia directly, stating “I wish the Mike Pences of the world could understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, then your problem is not with me, your quarrel is with my Creator,” while detailing his long struggle with self-acceptance. That acceptance, however, led to finding his husband Chasten, who Pete lovingly described as “the best thing in my life.” And that’s when our event attendees surreptitiously wiped their eyes.
MOMENT TWO: Pete announces his historic bid for the United States Presidency
One large check for LGBTQ history. On April 15th, 2019, Pete made it official, announcing his bid for the United States Presidency and becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to run in the Democratic primary. Pete opened the speech by thanking his husband – the first time a presidential candidate has done so. “Change is coming, ready or not. The question of our time is whether families and workers will be defeated by the changes beneath us or whether we will master them and make them work toward a better everyday life for us all. Such a moment calls for hopeful and audacious voices from communities like ours. And yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership.”
MOMENT THREE: Victory Fund endorses on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall
On the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and mere miles away from the Stonewall Inn, we made our first-ever Presidential endorsement. Victory Fund President & CEO Mayor Annise Parker said, “Few would have imagined a presidential candidate running so openly and honestly – proud of his husband, unwavering on equality, and fearless in his love-based interpretation of scripture. But it is happening. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is redefining what is possible in American politics and LGBTQ Victory Fund is ready to stand with him.”
MOMENT FOUR: Pete talks coming out on a national stage
During the third Democratic debate, each candidate was asked to describe a professional setback. Pete wowed the crowd by detailing his decision to come out. After serving under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and winning elected office in Mike Pence’s Indiana, Pete struggled with the decision to live his truth and have a career in politics. We know which path he chose – and we’re so glad he did: “I came back from the deployment and realized; you only get to live one life. And I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer. So I just came out.”
— Max Lewis (@MaxLewisTV) September 13, 2019
MOMENT FIVE: Anti-gay hecklers follow Pete across Iowa, Pete unfazed
Quite literally two days after Pete’s historic announcement, anti-LGBTQ activists began stalking his movements across the Hawkeye state. Hecklers chanted “remember Sodom and Gomorrah.” The bigots even went so far as to don Pete’s outfit and whip Jesus on a cross while the Devil watched and cheered (we wish we were making this up). Despite these disgusting attacks, Pete continued making his case to voters and speaking at rallies. His stoic demeanor was a master class in how to deal with low-life bigots: don’t let them deter you from winning.
— Marcus J. DiPaola (@marcusdipaola) April 17, 2019
MOMENT SIX: The First Family: Time Magazine Cover
Do you remember the day you fell in love with King of the Internet, Chasten Buttigieg? We do – it was when he told his husband Pete that he chewed too loudly. No one keeps you grounded like your partner.
MOMENT SEVEN: The First Democratic Debate
Another historic first checked off – Pete officially makes history as the first openly LGBTQ person to take the Democratic presidential debate stage. Night two brought a lot of fireworks and the honest admission from Pete that sometimes, elected officials can’t close the deal. Pete’s willingness to take accountability for his administration’s struggle to address police violence and racial issues resonated online and solidified Pete as a top contender.
BONUS MOMENT: The rainbow debate
Fresh from the first Democratic debate of 2020, Pete stopped to meet with supporters. Senior Advisor Lis Smith snapped this iconic, unedited image. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words!
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) January 15, 2020