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Pete Buttgieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president

Buttigieg building strong grassroots group in New Jersey

Mayor Pete’s local backers holding organizational mixer in Asbury Park

By David Wildstein, April 22 2019 5:50 pm

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has reported raising $42,705 out of New Jersey as his supporters continue to organize grass-roots support in Cory Booker’s home state.

Backers of the South Bend mayor are organizing a “Pete Up” on May 2 at the Watermark in Asbury Park organized by veteran Democratic legislative staffer David Grant and Asbury Park Democrats.

It will be the first of several in different parts of the state over the coming months, Grants said.

So far, it looks like Hasbrouck Heights councilman Christopher Hillmann is the top elected official in New Jersey to support South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I’ve been a fan for a while,” Hillmann told the New Jersey Globe.

Buttigieg’s donors include former New Jersey Democratic State Chairman Tom Byrne, Garden State Equality executive director Christian Fuscarino, mega lawyer Ted Wells, and Raj Parikh, the counsel to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

Parikh said he has not made a final decision, but said he expects to support either Buttigieg or Booker.

“They both have different messages and campaign tones that I agree with,” Parikh said.

Most of New Jersey’s political establishment has lined up behind favorite-son Cory Booker, but there are likely to be some defections along the way – especially in situations where Democrats have independent relationships with other candidates and their campaigns.

“I was Pete’s lawyer for his DNC chair race,” said Parikh. “I think he is an excellent candidate and something new.  I look forward to helping him here in New Jersey and around the country.”

Parikh, a partner at the politically influential Genova & Burns law firm, also contributed $1,000 to Booker’s campaign.

“I also think Cory is an excellent candidate and was happy to support him financially as he kicked off his efforts,” Parikh told the Globe.  “It’s too early to pick favorites.”

Grant said that he is optimistic that Buttigieg will make an appearance in New Jersey in the coming months.

Some of Buttigieg’s support stems from one of his political advisors, Jennifer Holdsworth, a veteran New Jersey operative who managed the South Bend mayor’s campaign for Democratic National Chairman.

Orin Kramer, once an influential New Jersey Democratic insider dubbed the “King of the New York Obamasaurs” as a major bundler for Barack Obama’s 2008 bid for the presidency, is now helping Buttigieg raise money for his presidential campaign.

Kramer also contributed $2,800 to Booker.

Also involved in organizing support for Buttigieg is InsiderNJ columnist Jay Lassiter.  The owner of InsiderNJ, John Graham, recently endorsed Booker.

Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop, who was noticeably absent on an early list of Booker endorsements, said on Twitter last month that he had made a personal campaign contribution to Buttigieg to help him secure public financing, but that should not be construed as an endorsement.  Buttigieg’s most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission does not disclose any contribution from Fulop, even though the campaign reported nearly two dozen contributions under $200.

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One thought on “Buttigieg building strong grassroots group in New Jersey

  1. Hello,
    I live in Bergen County and would like to volunteer for Mayor Pete, but I can’t seem to find any information on his organization here in NJ. Can you point me in the right direction? Thank you.

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