Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has today responded to an Iowa caucus-goer who demanded to change her vote after she found out he is gay.
The unidentified woman was filmed on Tuesday asking to switch her vote when she discovered the former South Bend mayor was married to a man.
She is recorded telling the precinct captain, Nikki van den Heever, ‘I don’t want anybody like that in the White House’ after being told Buttigieg is in a same-sex relationship and is married to his partner of five years, Chasten.
But the Democrat presidential candidate said he ‘would seek to be her president as well’, despite being ‘saddened’ by her views.
Buttigieg also said he had overcome prejudice to win a landslide reelection as South Bend mayor, Indiana, in 2015 which was the same he publicly came out as gay at a time when Vice President Mike Pence was the governor.
He told TMZ: ‘It saddens me that that’s her attitude. But the biggest thing that I want her to know is if I get elected I would seek to be her president as well, and seek to do a good job that will make a difference in the lives of those she loves in her life.
‘It’s unfortunate you can’t win everybody, but as somebody who got reelected with 80 per cent of the vote in my Indiana city, while Mike Pence was the governor of my state, I’ve also seen how many people are able to move beyond prejudices when it comes to elections.
‘They’re [elections]not really as much about the lives of the candidates as they are about the lives of the voters.’
Last night the Iowa Democratic Party revealed that Buttigieg had edged out Sanders by 26.2 per cent of the vote to 26.1 per cent – just 0.1 per cent in state delegates.
Buttigieg had declared himself the winner based on the number of delegates from the Midwestern state while Sanders claimed victory based on the popular vote.
In the footage that emerged earlier this week, the woman asks Buttigieg Van den Heever: ‘Are you saying that he has the same-sex partner? Pete?’
When Heever replied ‘yes’, the woman responded: ‘Are you kidding? Then I don’t want anybody like that in the White House. So can I have my card back?’
Wearing a Buttigieg badge as well as an Amy Klobuchar button the woman continued: ‘Well he better read the Bible.’ It is not known if she changed her vote.
#PeteButtigieg precinct captain in rural Iowa responds to a caucus-goer flipping out upon learning that he has a same-sex partner. It’s a masterclass in patience, persistence, and love. Bravo @nikkiheever #IowaCaucuses #cresco #howardcountyiowa pic.twitter.com/PhX7vRFh8X
Trying to reason with the voter, van den Heever tells her: ‘I don’t know, you signed it. We could go ask. The whole point of it is, though, he’s a human being, right? Just like you and me and it shouldn’t really matter.’
The woman then asks: ‘How come this is never been brought out before?’
Buttigieg has spoken openly of his relationship with elementary school teacher Chasten. After meeting on the dating app Hinge the pair had their first date at a baseball game in South Bend in the summer of 2015.
They moved in together by the end of that year and announced their engagement in December 2017.
They tied the knot on June 16, 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend.
The political couple boast a strong army of fans, not only for Mayor’s work in Indiana but for being an LGBTQ couple in the 2020 presidential race.
After asking if Buttigieg has read the bible van den Heever replied: ‘He does, and he says that God doesn’t choose a political party because…’
The woman then interrupted to ask: ‘Why does it say in the Bible that a man should marry a woman then?’
Van den Heever replied: ‘Well I totally respect your viewpoint on this, I so totally do, but I think that we were not around when the Bible was written.’
Buttigieg claimed on ‘CBS This Morning’ that his performance in Iowa was ‘phenomenal,’ especially given the fact that he had started his presidential campaign with little name recognition.
‘They said we shouldn’t even be here. And now, here we are, in the position that we are in, coming into New Hampshire for what we think will be another historic night a week from today,’ he said.
Buttigieg has back-to-back events planned around the state on Tuesday. His supporters, including Donchess, say the New Hampshire primary will matter even more after Iowa was slow to report results.
The Iowa Democratic Party said delays in reporting the outcome of Monday’s caucuses were due to a coding issue that has been fixed. The party says it hopes to release results ‘as soon as possible.’
In a statement on Tuesday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price said, ‘We have every indication that our systems were secure and there was not a cyber security intrusion.’
Price said independent cyber-security consultants tested the systems in preparation for the caucuses.
Candidates left Iowa Monday night for New Hampshire without the outcome of the contest being announced, a debacle that renewed criticism of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status and the caucus format.
Price says as results came in Monday night from more than 1,600 caucus sites the state party ran them through ‘an accuracy and quality check’ and ‘it became clear there were inconsistencies with the reports.’
Price added it took time to investigate the cause, which was later determined to be a coding issue in the app precinct leaders were using to report some data.
He said state party staff used ‘pre-planned measures and entered data manually,’ which took longer than expected. He says the party has used required back-up paper documentation to verify data recorded in the app was accurate and to calculate delegate counts.