‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg heads to Seattle for fundraisers next week

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Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg will visit Seattle for a pair of fundraisers Tuesday, including a sold-out event at The Showbox.

Buttigieg is scheduled to attend a 4:30 p.m. event at the Showbox, with tickets ranging from $25 to $500, according to an invitation. At 7 p.m. he’s slated for a more exclusive fundraiser at a private Seattle home, costing at least $1,000 per person.

No public events have been announced and a Buttigieg spokeswoman said Friday she did not know whether any of the fundraisers would be open to media.

Buttigieg, 37, often known as “Mayor Pete,” has vaulted from the little-known mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to a national political sensation since launching his White House bid. The first openly gay major presidential candidate, he is a Harvard- and Oxford-educated military veteran who served seven months in Afghanistan in 2014.

He raised nearly $25 million in the second quarter of the year — the biggest haul among candidates seeking the Democratic nomination.

Paul Joseph Brown, a retired photojournalist co-hosting Buttigieg’s Tuesday-night fundraiser, said he first met Buttigieg earlier this year at a small, salon-style gathering with local Democratic Party donors and insiders in a living room in the Queen Anne neighborhood.


“I don’t think anyone really knew much about Pete, the folks in this room,” Brown said. “Five minutes in, I turned to my partner and said ‘This guy is the real deal.’ “

Brown added: “His analysis and critique of our politics, how we got to where we are, this particular historical moment, I find entirely compelling.”

Buttigieg had been in Seattle in February, before officially declaring his candidacy, to promote his autobiography, “Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future.”

Brown’s partner, and fundraiser co-host, is Lisa Mennet, the founder of Cooper House, a Seattle clinic providing mental-health services for children. Mennet was among the biggest local donors to Hillary Clinton in 2016, giving more than $400,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund. She has donated $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee this year.

The Showbox appearance by Buttigieg is hosted by The Riveter, a Seattle-based company that operates professional networking and co-working spaces focused on women.

Kerry Murphy, chief marketing officer for The Riveter, said the company isn’t endorsing Buttigieg but is inviting multiple 2020 candidates to events at its locations in Seattle and other cities, including Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.


“We are bringing in the field, and we are thrilled to watch it unfold,” Murphy said. “We are being very intentional about inviting the candidates who are in support of women’s issues and equity.”

About 1,000 people are expected at the Showbox event, Murphy said.

In recent weeks, Buttigieg has canceled some political events to return to South Bend and address boiling anger by some residents over the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer. The shooting ignited protests and put a spotlight on his leadership of the city.

At the first Democratic debate in Miami, Buttigieg acknowledged he’d failed in his goal of diversifying the police force, saying, “I couldn’t get it done.”

Buttigieg has raised the third-largest sum of money from Washington-state donors among Democratic presidential candidates, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. As of June 30, he’s received about $113,000, behind home-state Gov. Jay Inslee’s $1 million and $173,000 donated to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Buttigieg’s Seattle events are part of a West Coast swing. On Wednesday, he’s scheduled to attend a fundraiser in California at the home of Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings, according to The Hollywood Reporter.