Having a Moment: Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg Gains Recognition in 2020 Presidential Race

March 25, 2019 AT 8:00 AM

By Dan Merica

Pete Buttigieg can tell that things have changed.

Buoyed by positive reviews for the South Bend mayor's performance at an hour-long CNN town hall earlier this month and a steady stream of well received appearances on TV, Buttigieg's 2020 presidential exploratory committee has felt a sustained surge of momentum over the past two weeks. The once little-known mayor is getting recognized across the country, while his committee has mapped out plans to double in size in the coming weeks as a steady stream of new donations flood to the 37-year-old Democrat.

It's been an eye-opening experience for Buttigieg, a mild-mannered candidate who seems allergic to bragging.

"It's heady," Buttigieg said in an interview with CNN. "And it has happened very quickly."

Buttigieg's fundraising still trails what is known about candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, and he has yet to see a boost in national or state level polling, but the news has been welcomed by the mayor, who started the campaign with little to no national name recognition and significantly smaller crowds in key states.

"The good news is it means the more people that see our message, the more it resonates," he said. "Because what I said in the town hall is no different than what I've been saying all along, it's just that more people saw it."

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