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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is gaining support as a legitimate democratic contender for the 2020 Presidential election, but some strategists in the republican party are now voicing concern that the 37-year-old Harvard grad, Rhodes scholar and Afghanistan War veteran could drop out of the race and “instantly become a threat to win the state’s governorship.”
“There is a growing concern and an increasing amount of anxiety among the Indiana Republican leaders associated with Gov. Holcomb that Buttigieg could make a switch several months down the road and challenge Holcomb for governor instead,” said one of the GOP sources who hails from Indiana and is close to the state party leadership.
“That’s why the Indiana state party is taking shots at Buttigieg,” the source added.
Buttigieg campaign spokesman Chris Meagher issued a five-word statement in response to this story: “Pete is running for president.”
And in a 20-minute phone interview, Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer aggressively pushed back on what he called a “fabricated narrative,” insisting that Buttigieg would have no shot at winning a statewide race in the Hoosier State.
Hupfer noted that Buttigieg in 2010 was crushed by Republican Richard Mourdock in the race for state treasurer.
“There is zero accuracy to it,” he told The Hill. “He’s not a viable candidate statewide in Indiana. There’s zero concern by the Indiana GOP that he could come back here and run against the governor.”
Buttigieg would need to file for the governor’s race by Feb. 7 — just four days after the Iowa caucuses and four days before the New Hampshire primary.
WIBC host Tony Katz addresses the speculation surrounding Buttigieg’s near-term political future Wednesday morning:
“I think being governor would be a fantastically good time, and that executive experience only get blown up and magnified. But you have votes and decisions that used against you all the time.
I think he goes for that national profile position. Me, I like the idea of running for governor. Running for governor sounds like fun.
But a Holcomb, Buttigieg race? Here’s the other problem: Holcomb doesn’t play in the social places. Holcomb is much more of a former governor Mitch Daniels kind of guy. And he’s not going to be able to be pinned on ‘Well, you have a problem with gay people.’ He’s not going to get pinned on any of that stuff. He’s going to say he’s pro-life – because he is – and that’s going to be that. It’s going to be a harder race for Buttigieg in that scenario because there is less animosity against Holcomb.
I say it’s just a rumor.”
Click the link below to hear Tony’s full commentary.