September 21, 2019

What Big Tech Wants from Pete Buttigieg

“Pete Buttigieg made more than a few jaws drop last week when he released quarterly donation tallies that outperformed his place in the opinion polls by a large margin. Between April and July, Buttigieg raised a staggering $25 million from nearly 300,000 donors—more than any other candidate in the race, including consistent frontrunner Joe Biden and small-donor machine Bernie Sanders. Although Buttigieg continues to poll respectably, he rarely cracks double-digits. (He currently hovers between 4 and 8 percent in recent polls.) The large haul will allow him to expand his operations to more parts of the country and invest in building a stronger campaign infrastructure in key early primary states.

As The New York Times observed shortly after Buttigieg posted his haul, his fundraising success owes something to his omnivorous approach. Some candidates, like Biden, have focused almost exclusively on big-ticket donors, while others, like Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have focused on a broad base of donors who give in smaller amounts. Buttigieg has welcomed them all, though his dollars-per-donor numbers are much closer to Biden’s than to those of Sanders and Warren, suggesting a more significant reliance on wealthy backers. “We take an ‘all of the above’ fundraising strategy from one dollar online donations, donations made through social media, all the way up to max contributions and having people raise money on our behalf,” a campaign aide told Yahoo, on the condition of anonymity.

Those numbers are backed up by the fact that Buttigieg has also become the toast of campaign contribution bundlers—and not just those with ties to the last two Democratic presidential nominees. Donors on Wall Street and, particularly, in Silicon Valley, appear to favor the South Bend, Indiana mayor more than both Biden and California native Kamala Harris. The question is why—what does Big Tech expect from Mayor Pete?”

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