Pride in Buttigieg Coming out of Iowa

Jennifer Holdsworth with Buttigieg.

I have many thoughts about the Iowa caucuses. There’s so much flying around my head right now that if I tried write it down, it would come out in messy torrents. Kinda like opening a soda after shaking it vigorously.

So let’s not do that.

Instead, we’ll focus one of the frontrunners, former South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg who was in Summit, NJ yesterday for a fundraiser. He also nabbed a notable Jersey endorsement from Steven Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality, NJ’s largest LGBT rights org.

Goldstein Tweet.

With the Iowa results still astonishingly inconclusive, Mayor Pete and Senator Sanders are locked in a photo-finish. They came out on top.  We’re just not quite sure in which order.

Senator Elizabeth Warren finished a distant 3rd in Iowa with former VP Joe Biden limping to a 4th place result. (Joe’s in trouble, y’all, a story for another day.)

Mr, Buttigieg’s finish in Iowa ensures the kind of momentum, fundraising and otherwise, that he’ll need heading into the New Hampshire primaries this Tuesday February 11.

Senator Sanders and Senator Warren represent states that neighbor New Hampshire, providing a huge edge on Tuesday. But let’s not concede the possibility of another hugely satisfying finish for Mayor Pete in New Hampshire, home of the nation’s first non-caucus primary contest.

Bergen County NJ native Jennifer Holdsworth is a longtime senior advisor to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign (see pic.)

“We are overwhelmed and excited by the enthusiasm we saw on the ground in Iowa for Mayor Pete.” Ms. Holdsworth told InsiderNJ. “The mayor’s support was wide-ranging and reminded Democrats to campaign everywhere.”

So what’s to like?

“For me personally it confirms that a message of unity and belonging and policy resonates with the Democratic electorate in a very big way. Democrats want to be spoken to in all corners of the state,” Ms. Holdsworth explained, emphasizing the all corners of the state part.

David Grant is deputy director at the NJ Democratic Party LGBT caucus. He spent several days on the ground in Iowa campaigning for Pete and soaking up the atmosphere.

Voters were attracted to”Pete’s message of unity and platform of bold, achievable change,”‘ Mr. Grant told InsiderNJ. “After talking to Iowans about Pete, seeing the size of the crowds at his rallies, and seeing the hundreds of volunteers coming in from all over the country makes me believe we are about to get some great news once the official results are released.”


For what it’s worth, Pete’s currently my top choice to take on Donald Trump in November. Senator Bernie Sanders is my second pick at the moment.

My support for Bernie over the years has drawn insults like “commie shill.” Someone once called me socialist for wearing a Bernie t-shirt at the Cherry Hill mall, hugely ironic because when I’m at the mall I’m a capitalist pig, right?

Likewise my affection and support for Mayor Pete make me a ‘neoliberal sellout’ in some circles. I had to look up ‘neoliberal’ in the dictionary and that’s definitely not me. Unless of course I’m at the mall.

But even if Pete weren’t my top choice, the historic nature of this campaign would still surely give me goosebumps. I’m almost 50 and I’ve been HIV+ nearly 30 years.

When I acquired HIV as a teenager back in 1992, you’d be hard pressed to name a single politically influential LGBT person anywhere in America, let alone a contender for the freaking White House!

Think about that! 

There was no talk of gay marriage or workplace protections back then.

We were preoccupied with not dying of AIDS.

So to live long enough to see a gay person become a credible contender for the White House brings immense pride. I feel a little tear welling up just typing those words.

Troy Stevenson is past president of Garden State Equality. He distilled my bouillabaisse of emotion into one tidy, pointed quip:

“If you are not celebrating the historic nature of a gay candidate winning Iowa, you are not a queer ally, and we will remember forever,” Mr Stevenson roared on Facebook.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Jersey-based Hoosier Jay Lassiter is an award-winning writer, podcaster, and videographer. A consummate military brat, Jay was born in Evansville, Indiana where his father was a recruiter for the USMC. 




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