DES MOINES — A delegation of 60 volunteers who flew in from California for Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg gathered for a very public organizational meeting at the Scenic Route Bakery in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday morning.
It was a warmup for the evening’s Democrat Party Liberty and Justice Celebration and fundraiser at the Wells Fargo Arena, where thousands of rank-and-file Democrats are expected to listen to 14 of the candidates vying for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination explain why Iowa Caucus attendees should back them.
Breitbart News spoke with two of the Buttigieg volunteers, one from Santa Barbara and another from San Diego, who said they were part of 150 volunteers who paid their own way to come to Iowa to support the Buttigieg campaign. One volunteer said that a total of 1,200 Buttigieg volunteers from around the country flew to Des Moines to lend their support to Buttigieg.
“I’m strictly a volunteer. I absolutely paid for my travel here myself,” Laurie from Santa Barbara told Breitbart News.
“There’s going to be at least 150 to 200 people from California for Pete tonight,” she added.
Laurie had a succinct explanation for why she made the trip to Des Moines.
“This is a big deal for the Democratic Party to be participating in this event. As we all know, this is the event tonight that turned around the polls and the momentum for Barack Obama. And we see the same thing happening for Pete,” she said.
Laurie was also optimistic about Buttigieg’s chances of winning the Iowa Caucuses outright, saying, “If you look at the polls released this morning from CNN it basically shows a four-way tie for first place.”
“We’re here as part of the barnstorming effort for Pete. It’s a group of volunteers who feel so inspired by Pete running for president that we paid our own way to fly to Iowa to meet with the folks here and get visibility for Pete and explain our personal stories as to why we feel Pete is the most qualified person to be president,” George, who said he is a deputy city clerk from San Diego, told Breitbart News.
“I feel like Pete speaks to the division in the country, and why we need to have a candidate to bring everyone together. He speaks about the day after the election how divided the country will be, regardless of who the next president is, and how important it will be to everyone in the country to feel that the person that’s been elected speaks to them. So he’s staking out a ground that speaks to, not either side, but to both sides of the country,” George added.
When pressed by Breitbart News to explain how Buttigieg’s support for the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Trump by Democrats in the House of Representatives—which many Republicans have characterized as a grossly unfair and un-American partisan witch hunt—would unite the country, George was unable to provide a compelling response.
“Each of these individual candidates has a position as to whether the president has committed a high crime or misdemeanor. That’s the position they’re taking. I feel that, for a lot of folks, an inquisition, or an inquiry is important for everybody to look into,” George said
Breitbart News spoke with two Buttigieg volunteers from Indiana at another venue in Des Moines on Friday morning who confirmed that volunteers have flown in to Des Moines from around the country at their own expense, but could not confirm the number of such volunteers.
As many as 200,000 Iowa Democrats are expected to gather across the state on February 3 for a first-in-the-nation electoral contest to determine the party’s presidential nominee for the November 2020 general election.
Blue and yellow “Pete 2020” campaign signs are widely visible in downtown Des Moines, a clear indication that the presidential campaign of the 37-year-old two-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is well organized on the ground in advance of the evening’s event.
Other campaigns, including those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden (D), and Andrew Yang (D), also had street signage visible in Des Moines on Friday, but most of that was within a thousand feet of the Wells Fargo Arena.
In advance of the evening, all the major presidential campaigns hosted meet and greet events near the Wells Fargo Arena on Friday afternoon in hopes of creating volunteer enthusiasm and support for their candidate at the evening’s event.
The Buttigieg campaign is clearly hoping that the candidate’s speech this evening–where each candidate is limited to a ten minute address–will give him the same kind of boost that Obama received when he addressed the same event 11 years earlier in 2007.