Pete Buttigieg Starts Cancelling Events, Is He About to Head Home to South Bend?

AP Photo/John Locher

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg visits a caucus site Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

 

According to the Associated Press, Pete Buttigieg has started canceling events in Florida even as the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday are all just a few days away:

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has cancelled four events in south Florida set for Wednesday because of illness.

Buttigieg campaign spokesman Chris Meagher says the former mayor is sick with a cold.

Buttigieg stills plans to attend an event Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina, with the Rev. Al Sharpton, then travel to Washington for previously scheduled meetings.

Three of the Florida events were fundraisers. Buttigieg has been asking supporters to help him raise $13 million ahead of next week’s 14-state Super Tuesday contests.

Following Tuesday night’s debate, Buttigieg had been scheduled to travel to Coral Gables, Florida, for a fundraiser ahead of a public campaign event. He was then scheduled to headline late afternoon and evening fundraising events in West Palm Beach and nearby Wellington, before traveling to Washington.

The best you can say about this article is that it is a dutiful and credulous transcription of a campaign press release. It is actually shameful in its lack of critical thinking.

If you travel a lot, whether you’re in sports, business, or the military, you get colds. That’s baked in. Some of them are bad. You don’t take to your fainting couch, you pop antihistamines as though they were M&Ms and drive on. Especially, if you are a Navy intelligence badass who is lecturing the nation as “the only veteran on stage.” I’m sure when he was an overpaid Uber driver in Afghanistan, he learned to work through illness.

Second data point. Buttigieg doesn’t break 15% in any of the South Carolina or Super Tuesday polls. Why 15%? Because in most Democrat primaries 15% is the threshold for winning any delegates.

Third data point. Buttigieg is basically broke. In the last FEC report, he has less cash on hand than his previous month’s burn rate. Politico has some good insight on that:

Buttigieg’s campaign said in a memo that its objective on March 3 is to “minimize” Sanders’ margins and maximize “delegate accumulation by [congressional] district, not states.” Anticipating a drawn-out primary process, Buttigieg is looking to survive deeper into the calendar, making it to mid-March contests in the Midwest that might provide more opportunities for him.

Buttigieg is focusing on selected districts in smaller media markets throughout the country to rack up delegates, from Austin, Texas and its suburbs to San Diego, northern Maine, and other locales where Democrats flipped House seats in 2018. But it’s a risky strategy to maintain momentum, and that risk is born out of necessity.

Buttigieg doesn’t have the money to compete more broadly across the 14 Super Tuesday states, like Bernie Sanders and especially Mike Bloomberg, nor is he expected to set up Super Tuesday by finishing strongly on Saturday in South Carolina, where he’s struggled to gain any traction among voters of color. He’s not wading into more favorable demographic territory, like Joe Biden in the other Southern states coming up. And he’s not getting the benefit of home-state primaries on March 3 like Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.

The narrowed approach also shines a bright light on Buttigieg’s cash crunch. The candidate spent more than he raised in January, and he urged his supporters last week to help him bring in $13 million before March 3 to stay competitive, a plea the campaign repeated in its recent memo. On Wednesday, Buttigieg’s campaign told supporters in an email that it has reached about 40 percent of its goal — approximately $5 million raised in the last six days.

Read that carefully alongside the FEC report. His urgent appeal for funds got him about 2 weeks of operating funds. And he canceled fundraisers — in Florida, which, arguably, is one his more friendly states.

Buttigieg may have a cold but that isn’t what is causing him to cancel fundraisers when he’s broke. He’s out after Tuesday when his strategy of focusing on ‘delegate accumulation by [congressional] district, not states’ is revealed for the fraud that it is.