South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a big problem on his hands, according to Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH): winning over the black vote.
“Pete has a black problem,” the former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus told The Daily Beast. “I don’t know of one black person out of Indiana that supports him.”
The harsh observation comes after the Democratic presidential candidate was criticized during a contentious town hall in the wake of a fatal police shooting of a black man by a white officer.
One woman confronted the mayor when he arrived back in the city on Friday and specifically asked him about whether he wants the black community to vote for him.
“You’re running for president and you want black people to vote for you?” the woman said, reports the Daily Beast. “That’s not going to happen.”
Buttigieg replied, “Ma’am, I’m not asking for your vote.”
Fudge said that response shows his “arrogance” and sense of “entitlement.”
During the town hall, Buttigieg took some responsibility.
“The effort to recruit more minority officers to the police department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that,” Buttigieg said.
According to the Associated Press, Buttigieg’s handling of the recent police shooting is not the first example of his checkered history with the black community.
The white mayor has had a sometimes-tense relationship with the black community dating back to his first term in office, when he fired the city’s first black police chief. He has also faced criticism for his handling of police misconduct cases, including a case involving an officer who was twice disciplined for civil rights violations but not fired, and for not having a police department that reflects South Bend’s diversity. The police department is almost 90 percent white. (AP)
The Daily Beast’s report also included quotes from other anonymous black sources—all agreeing that he’s got a long way to go if he has any hope of locking in meaningful support from the black community.
As it stands, recent polling shows he’s well behind some of his Democratic rivals for black support.