Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, shown speaking earlier this year at the African American Leadership Council Summit in Atlanta, appears to be having trouble connecting with black voters. An African American pastor in Atlanta pastor said nominating a gay man for president might hurt Democrats’ chances of drawing moderate voters in next year’s election. Bob Andres /
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

GEORGIA 2020: Buttigieg to launch black outreach push in Atlanta 

White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg plans to give his campaign a boost in the South by using Atlanta as a staging ground for a new effort to win over black voters with a series of events around next week’s Democratic debate.

The Democrat’s plans, first reported by CNN, involve an event at an historically black college in Atlanta and the roll-out of a slate of African-American supporters who will join him on the campaign trail. 

The details remain scant. Buttigieg’s campaign declined to publicly comment on the initiative, which comes as the South Bend, Ind. mayor prepares for the Nov. 20 debate at Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta. 

Buttigieg is trying to frame himself as a moderate, mainstream alternative to Joe Biden, but he and other Democratic rivals are struggling to chip away at the former vice president’s deep well of support among black voters.

Even as he rises in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, Buttigieg continues to hover in the single-digits in surveys of South Carolina, the first state where black voters make up the bulk of the electorate. In Georgia, which will vote weeks later, he’s only picked up a handful of endorsements.

Atlanta has fast become a launching pad this political cycle for outreach initiatives targeting African-American voters. 

President Donald Trump last week launched his “Black Voices for Trump” program at a Georgia World Congress Center ballroom with about 300 supporters, many from out of state.

And the day after the debate, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is set to deliver a speech at Clark Atlanta University to honor the women behind the Atlanta Laundry Workers’ strike in 1881 and workers’ rights activists pushing for changes today. 

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