As Mayor Pete Buttigieg kickstarts his campaign to win over African-American voters who are skeptical of his spotty track record on issues of concern to black communities—or who are entirely unfamiliar with him at all—the millennial mayor is returning to one of the touchstones of his early campaign: his faith.
“It’s not for nothing that a lot of my experiences even back home addressing black voters, specifically, is in church,” Buttigieg recently told reporters aboard his campaign bus in New Hampshire, in response to a question about what “clicks” with African-American audiences. “Knowing how important an organizing principle faith is in so many black families, in so many parts of the black community.”
Buttigieg, more than any other candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, has emphasized his identity as a Christian as part of his appeal to voters who, at first glance, might not feel like they have a lot in common with the white millennial mayor from the Midwest. In a series of appearances in front of predominantly black audiences across the American South this week, Buttigieg frequently leaned into his Episcopalian faith as a way to connect with black voters who have been, until recently, an afterthought for his campaign.