SB mayor's presidential exploratory committee nets major donations after CNN speech

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) --- Just a couple days after a nationally televised CNN Town Hall special, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is assessing the state of his 2020 presidential exploratory committee.

"I'll say each day we get closer (to making a decision), and the response after Sunday was phenomenal," Buttigieg said on Tuesday.

The mayor estimates his committee netted at least 20,000 individual donations following the CNN interview. The money is used to hire campaign staff and fund travel, and Buttigieg said it shows the far-reaching support he has garnered.

"What we are finding is there are so many people across the country who are either on board or, while they are making up their mind, they know for sure they want me to be in that debate," Buttigieg remarked. "Either reason is a good one."

Dr. Elizabeth Bennion, the Indiana University-South Bend political science chair, believes Buttigieg's surge in financial support after one televised event indicates he could repeat.

"I suspect that one of the key things the mayor and his team are looking at now as they consider whether or not to move from exploratory committee into an actual declared candidacy is how they are doing relative to the guidelines set up by the DNC," Bennion stated.

According to Bennion, the Democratic National Committee requires presidential candidates to reach 1 percent in three national polls and to have 65,000 individual campaign contributions. There also must be at least 200 donations each in 20 states, she said.

Buttigieg said his goal isn't to be a candidate for one generation. Rather, he wants to engender a "generation of change" by building a "generational alliance."

He also has not specified when he will announce the future of his exploratory committee.