Political News

Black South Bend official endorses Biden while criticizing Buttigieg

Posted November 22, 2019 3:14 p.m. EST

— The vice president of the South Bend, Indiana, Common Council on Friday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president, and criticized South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as the city's mayor faces more questions about his appeal to black voters.

Oliver Davis is one of the longest-serving African American South Bend council members, according to a news release by the Biden campaign, and was previously the president of the South Bend Common Council. Davis ran for mayor in South Bend this year and lost to James Mueller, whom Buttigieg endorsed as his preferred successor. Buttigieg has been mayor of South Bend since 2012, and did not seek reelection.

"In times like these, when the political winds are fiercely blowing across our country, it's important for us to have an experienced leader who has been through the diverse storms of life to guide our country. That's why I am very pleased to support Vice President Joe Biden to be our next President of the United States of America," Davis said in a statement provided by the Biden campaign.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Buttigieg polling at 0% among black voters who are likely to vote in the South Carolina democratic primary. His low poll numbers among a key voting bloc could be a major stumbling block in early contests that will be dominated by black voters.

Davis told Politico that Biden is more experienced, and said he doubted Buttigieg could win a general election given his low level of support among black voters. Davis told Politico that Buttigieg's problem attracting support from communities of color "is not a new problem for him." He said: "For us, this has been a consistent issue that has not gone away."

Biden, by contrast, enjoys solid and unmatched support among black voters, which has bolstered his standing in the polls. In the same Quinnipiac poll, Biden is at 44% support among black voters likely to vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders a distant second with 10% among the same demographic.

Davis told Politico that Biden "has an understanding of the Midwest," and said he believes Biden can turn Indiana blue in 2020.

"What he's doing nationally, it's not a fluke. It's real," Davis said. "His numbers are real throughout the country because people know him."

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