South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign Wednesday unveiled endorsements from thousands of veterans and members of the military community as it enjoys a rise in the polls.
The campaign announced that more than 4,300 veterans and military community members have joined the official group “Veterans And Military Community for Pete.” Buttigieg’s camp said the supporters, which come from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, will help grow grassroots enthusiasm for Buttigieg through organizing and volunteer activities assisting veterans.
“Thousands of military community members from across the country are passionate about electing a Commander-In-Chief who understands the sacrifice that our servicemembers and their families make,” Catherine O’Connor, the Buttigieg campaign’s national veterans engagement director and a Marine Corps veteran herself, told The Hill.
“They know that as President, Pete will restore American values and credibility on the world stage, and offer bold solutions that unite the country and value the well-being of our servicemembers.”
The Buttigieg campaign also set up a page on its website for veterans and members of the military community to share their stories and explain their support for the Indiana Democrat.
“I met Pete in Afghanistan when we were both stationed there. He so impressed us all with his savvy, wisdom and compassion. One night I told him: ‘You oughta run for President,’” a person identified as James from Texas said.
“When I listen to Mayor Pete speak, I feel hopeful that we can be the America I fought for so long ago,” added Russ from Washington, D.C.
Buttigieg, an Afghanistan War veteran, has underscored his military service when discussing his foreign policy stances, suggesting he is among the candidates best positioned to understand the military consequences of America’s dealings abroad.
The South Bend mayor unveiled a sweeping plan this week to assist veterans, including boosting support to reintegrate veterans after they complete their service and assisting servicemembers’ families, among other things. Buttigieg also said he would like to name the country’s first female Department of Veterans Affairs secretary.
The announcement of the endorsements comes as Buttigieg enjoys a boost in national and statewide polling. A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday found him surging to the front of the pack in Iowa, which will hold the first nominating contest in the 2020 cycle, with a slim lead over former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).