How Pete Buttigieg became a fundraising star in Hollywood

Pete Buttigieg is not quite a top-tier candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. But in Hollywood, the 37-year-old gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., has already become the campaign’s breakout star.

Buttigieg raised $24.8 million in the second quarter, leading the Democratic field. Among his contributors were David Geffen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Barbra Streisand.

He will return to Los Angeles on July 25 for a series of fundraisers, including a lunch hosted by former Ambassador Nicole Avant, wife of Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos. In the evening, he’ll be at the home of NBCUniversal international chairman Kevin MacLellan, along with co-hosts Ellen DeGeneres, Sean Hayes and Chelsea Handler.

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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg
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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigeig speaks during a news conference January 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Buttigeig held a news conference to announce that he is forming an exploratory committee to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 547 -- Pictured: (l-r) South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg during an interview with host Seth Meyers on June 22, 2017 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, center, speaks with attendees during a campaign stop in Ankeny, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. A flurry of proposals to slap new taxes on the ultra-wealthy, extend Medicare to all Americans and make college debt-free reflect a rapidly changing Democratic Party that sees a sharp left turn as the path to defeating President Donald Trump. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, speaks during a campaign stop in Ankeny, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. A flurry of proposals to slap new taxes on the ultra-wealthy, extend Medicare to all Americans and make college debt-free reflect a rapidly changing Democratic Party that sees a sharp left turn as the path to defeating President Donald Trump. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
THE VIEW - Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg visits ABC's 'The View' on Thursday, January 31, 2019. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) JOY BEHAR, PETER BUTTIGIEG, SUNNY HOSTIN
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is exploring a Presidential candidacy speaks at the University of Chicago on February 13, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joshua Lott / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14: 32nd Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is seen arriving at 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on February 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 09: Pete Buttigieg speaks onstage at Conversations About America's Future: Mayor Pete Buttigieg during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater on March 8, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 13: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Pete Buttigieg during Thursday's February 14, 2019 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 07: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks on stage at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 07, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 07: Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the 25th Essence Festival at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 07, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)
PROVINCETOWN, MA - JULY 5: Signs emblazoned with "Pete Town" are left behind after a rally for U.S. presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, IN Pete Buttigieg in Provincetown, MA on July 5, 2019. Hundreds of people were in attendance for the democratic presidential hopeful. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PROVINCETOWN, MA - JULY 5: Theresa Moehlman, left, and Andrea Sawyer attend a rally for U.S. presidential candidate and mayor South Bend, IN Pete Buttigieg in Provincetown, MA on July 5, 2019. Hundreds of people were in attendance for the Democratic presidential hopeful. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg (L) meets with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual International Convention on July 2, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Buttigieg is dealing with racial tension in South Bend following the shooting death of Eric Logan, a black man, who was shot by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, who is white. O'Neill shot Logan while investigating a report of car break-ins in the area. Logan was reported to be holding a knife when he was shot. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg (L) speaks with Rev. Jesse Jackson at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual International Convention on July 2, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Buttigieg is dealing with racial tension in South Bend following the shooting death of Eric Logan, a black man, who was shot by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, who is white. O'Neill shot Logan while investigating a report of car break-ins in the area. Logan was reported to be holding a knife when he was shot. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Annual International Convention on July 2, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Buttigieg is dealing with racial tension in South Bend following the shooting death of Eric Logan, a black man, who was shot by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill, who is white. O'Neill shot Logan while investigating a report of car break-ins in the area. Logan was reported to be holding a knife when he was shot. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - JUNE 29: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg greets residents before the start of a Peace Walk hosted by Christ Temple Apostolic Church on June 29, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. The event was held as the funeral for Eric Logan was being held in nearby Mishawaka. Logan was shot and killed by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill who was investigating a report of car break-ins in the area. Logan was reported to be holding a knife when he was shot. The shooting caused outrage in the community and turmoil for Buttigieg as a mayor and as a candidate. “It’s a mess” said Buttigieg referring to the shooting during the presidential debate in Miami on Thursday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - JUNE 29: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg greets residents before the start of a Peace Walk hosted by Christ Temple Apostolic Church on June 29, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. The event was held as the funeral for Eric Logan was being held in nearby Mishawaka. Logan was shot and killed by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill who was investigating a report of car break-ins in the area. Logan was reported to be holding a knife when he was shot. The shooting caused outrage in the community and turmoil for Buttigieg as a mayor and as a candidate. “It’s a mess” said Buttigieg referring to the shooting during the presidential debate in Miami on Thursday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - JUNE 29: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a Peace Walk hosted by Christ Temple Apostolic Church on June 29, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. The event was held as the funeral for Eric Logan was being held in nearby Mishawaka. Logan was shot and killed by South Bend Police Sgt. Ryan O'Neill who was investigating a report of car break-ins in the area. Logan was reported to be holding a knife when he was shot. The shooting caused outrage in the community and turmoil for Buttigieg as a mayor and as a candidate. “It’s a mess” said Buttigieg referring to the shooting during the presidential debate in Miami on Thursday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA - JUNE 28: Democratic Presidential candidate, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former housing secretary Julian Castro, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speak to the media as they visit the outside of a detention center for migrant children on June 28, 2019 in Homestead, Florida. Democratic presidential candidates visited the detention center, which is the nation's largest center for detaining immigrant children, as the candidates spend time in the Miami area after participating in a nationally televised debate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NBC NEWS ELECTION COVERAGE -- The First Democratic Debate -- Pictured: Pete Buttigieg, at The Knight Concert Hall, Miami Florida on Thursday, June 27, 2019-- (Photo by: Gustavo Cabellero /NBC News/MSNBC/Telemundo)
Democratic presidential hopefuls Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg speaks during the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 22: Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses the crowd at the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls are converging on South Carolina this weekend for a host of events where the candidates can directly address an important voting bloc in the Democratic primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - JUNE 15: Democratic presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg attends the 2019 Blue Commonwealth Gala fundraiser June 15, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Nearly 1,800 attended the event featuring Buttigieg and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 15: Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in the Black Economic Alliance Forum at the Charleston Music Hall on June 15, 2019 in Charleston, South Carolina. The Black Economic Alliance, is a nonpartisan group founded by Black executives and business leaders, and is hosting the forum in order to help Black voters understand the candidate's platforms. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 12: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg shakes a woamans hand as he attends a rally protesting against President Donald Trump policies outside of the White House in Washington on Wednesday June 12, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - JUNE 09: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on June 9, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nearly all of the 23 Democratic candidates running for president were campaigning in Iowa this weekend. President Donald Trump has two events scheduled in the state on Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2019/06/11: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States answers question during a press gaggle after delivering an hour long speech on foreign policy and security at the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IOWA - JUNE 08: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg arrives for a campaign stop at the Capital City Pride Fest on June 08, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. Most of the more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president are campaigning at various locations in Iowa this weekend. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SHOWALTER FOUNTAIN, BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2019/06/10: Screen printed posters dry after Jim Beck, of badkneests, made them as a fundraiser for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States, at the Showalter Fountain on the campus of Indiana University. Beck was exchanging the posters for a donation he will contribute to Buttigieg's presidential campaign before a representative of the auditorium said he had to move to the free speech zone blocks away in Dunn Meadow. Tickets for Buttigieg's speech on foreign policy and national security Tuesday were being distributed nearby at the Indiana University Auditorium. For those who didn't get tickets Monday, according to a press release, "A standby line for general public who did not claim a ticket will be recognized beginning at 9:30 a.m. in front of the School of Art, Architecture, and Design just west of the Auditorium.". (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IOWA - JUNE 08: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign stop at the Capital City Pride Fest on June 08, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. Most of the more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president are campaigning at various locations in Iowa this weekend. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 06: Democratic presidential candidate and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg speaks to a crowd at the African American Leadership Council on June 6, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The DNC hosted its African American Leadership Council (AALC) Summit at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta. (Photo by Dustin Chambers/Getty Images)
MSNBC - Election Coverage "Hardball Town Hall with Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Chris Matthews" -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Matthews, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Photo by: David Moir/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg hold signs as he speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Several Democratic presidential candidates are speaking at the California Democratic Convention that runs through Sunday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 23: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg (R) answers questions from reporter Robert Costa (L) at a Washington Post Live discussion May 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Buttigieg’s appearance was the first of the Washington Post’s “2020 Candidates” series of discussions. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Mayor Pete Buttigieg poses backstage at Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Conversation with The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart interview at 92nd Street Y on May 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 20: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a grassroots fundraiser at the Wynwood Walls on May 20, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Buttigieg is one of more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 20: Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a grassroots fundraiser at the Wynwood Walls on May 20, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Buttigieg is one of more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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The Buttigieg campaign has made Hollywood a priority, working closely with consultant John Gile and publicist Simon Halls to make inroads. As the first credible gay candidate for president, he has been able to tap into a network of gay donors, many of whom see his candidacy as a major milestone on the march to LGBTQ equality.

According to a Los Angeles Times analysis, Buttigieg raised $402,000 from the entertainment community in the second quarter, ahead of both California Sen. Kamala Harris, at $280,000, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who entered the race in late April and has raised $170,000 in Hollywood. 

Supporters say the affinity goes deeper than Buttigieg’s identity.

“He has hit a nerve,” says Rick Jacobs, a veteran Los Angeles political adviser. “You don’t raise that kind of money if something isn’t resonating.”

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2020 Democratic debates
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2020 Democratic debates
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden, center, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as from left, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, fSen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., gesture during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak at the same time during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden greets supporter after the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg poses with an advocacy group after the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., gestures, during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., left, reaches out to Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as former Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, walks between them, during a break in the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures as he speaks to the media in the spin room after the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden speaks to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during a break at the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, second from right, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as from left, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, center, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as author Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden talks to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg during a break at the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, left, speaks as former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gesture, during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, left, speaks as former vice president Joe Biden gestures, during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., former Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., attend during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang, center, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate author Marianne Williamson speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, interrupts Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gestures towards Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N,Y., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, right, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as author Marianne Williamson listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden speaks to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg during a break in the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former vice president Joe Biden, speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates, author Marianne Williamson, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., former Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., raise their hands when asked if they would provide healthcare for undocumented immigrants, during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate author Marianne Williamson speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami, as former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates former vice president Joe Biden, left, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., right, stand on stage for a photo op before the start of the the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., left, former Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., stand on stage before a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gestures towards New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
From left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney pose for a photo on stage before the start of a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Democratic presidential candidate former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, third from left, answers a question, during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney talk at the end of a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., answers questions after a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Democratic presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., second from left, hugs Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., hugs former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro at the end of a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. In between them is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., gestures, during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, shake hands at the end of a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Maryland Rep. John Delaney speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., talk during break at a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, gestures during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, speak during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gestures during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami, as Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during he Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami, as Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, listens. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., gestures as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro listens, during s Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Members of the audience react during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, answers a question during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, center, speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami, as Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates Washington Gov. Jay Inslee , left and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney answer a question at the same time during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, center, answers a question, during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miam, as from left, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii, listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidate former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, center, speaks at the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami, as Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., listen. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Democratic presidential candidates, from left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney listen before the start of a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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His supporters sometimes compare him to Barack Obama, seeing a reasonable, polished communicator who speaks of uniting a divided country. Buttigieg also comes to the campaign with a relatively light résumé, which many see as a virtue.

“What Buttigieg does is thoughtful — it feels fresh and authentic,” says Lena Kennedy, a fundraiser who bundled contributions for Obama and Hillary Clinton. “It feels that he has the capacity to pull our country to a place of healing.”

Hope Warschaw, another Clinton and Obama bundler, attended a Buttigieg fundraiser in May at the home of Brian Goldsmith.

“We all think he deserved money to keep his campaign going,” she says. “He’s one of the smartest people in the race, and the freshest face.”

Rival campaigns have not really taken aim at Buttigieg. In private, they compliment his talents and suggest he will become an important leader — in a few more years.

Many of his supporters are hedging their bets, giving to Biden, Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other campaigns as well.

“People are taking a wait-and-see attitude,” says casting director Tammy Billik, who is co-hosting a Buttigieg fundraiser at the home of Ease Entertainment Services partners Mike Rose and Ruben Rodriguez, also on July 25. “Whether it’s Biden or Kamala or Warren or Pete, everybody wants to see who rises up there. Everybody is going to get behind that person.”

For now, though, Billik is urging her friends to give to Buttigieg. She notes his military experience in Afghanistan, and says he does not seem “too far left” to be elected. “He appeals to people both straight and gay and feels like somebody we could see in the White House, whether it’s 2020 or 2028,” she says.

The LGBTQ community is used to giving money to straight candidates who support their causes. Seeing a viable gay candidate is a watershed.

“It’s an affirmation of a lot of work that a lot of people did,” says Howard Bragman, founder of LaBrea Media. “He’s got a huge career. He’s going to make a lot of money speaking, doing public appearances, books.  … I think Pete has won already.

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