Buttigieg joins parade of prez contenders to make Plains pilgrimage

Democrat Pete Buttigieg became the latest White House hopeful to visit former President Jimmy Carter in his hometown of Plains with a swing through southwest Georgia over the weekend.

The mayor of South Bend, Ind. joined a large crowd at Carter’s Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church, and his campaign said he later lunched with Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, to chat about topics ranging from faith to politicking.

He's the third presidential candidate to make the pilgrimage to visit Carter, 94, this election cycle. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey trekked to Plains with Rep. John Lewis in January, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota visited shortly after.

They're the latest in a string of candidates that have huddled with Carter over the years, including the splashy 2004 visit by Howard Dean that attracted national media attention.

Carter had a testier relationship with Hillary Clinton, revealing after the election that he supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primary.

The former president has not endorsed any candidate in the race, along with just about every other Georgia Democrat official and leading party activist.

Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland is the rare exception – he announced his support for ex-Vice President Joe Biden hours after he entered the race.