South Bend, Indiana Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has surged to third place in an Iowa caucus poll released Sunday.
Buttigieg, who would become the first openly gay president if he wins the primary and the general election in 2020, came in ahead of every other Democratic candidate besides Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
A total of 11% of likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers surveyed by Emerson Polling said they supported Buttigieg to become the party’s nominee and face off against Trump. Biden, who has yet to officially announce he will run, finished first with 25%, followed closely by Sanders, who netted 24%.
Kamala Harris came in fourth, with 10%, followed by Elizabeth Warren in fifth, with 9%.
In Emerson’s January Iowa poll, Buttigieg was polling at 0%. Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll, called the candidate’s newfound popularity “the biggest surprise” this time around.
He continued, noting that “last week we saw him inching up in our national poll, and now he’s in double digits in Iowa, America is going to be asking who is ‘Mayor Pete?'”
Buttigieg is receiving strong support from voters 18-29, trailing only Sanders in that category.
“If Buttigieg is able to maintain his momentum, his candidacy appears to be pulling from the same demographic of young voters as Sanders, and that could become a problem for Sanders,” said Kimball.
Earlier this month, the candidate celebrated hitting the 65,000 donor mark needed to secure a spot on the first debate stage.
When asked during an appearance on The View if America is ready for a gay president, he said “there’s only one way to find out,” and noted he got re-elected in Indiana by over 80% of the vote after coming out.
Don’t let anybody tell you that the other side is the side that’s got a handle on freedom. We are the party of freedom and we shouldn’t be afraid to go out there and say it. pic.twitter.com/2lTcEtoaah
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) March 24, 2019