Hollywood celebrities are flocking to support Pete Buttigieg’s Democratic presidential bid, flushing his campaign with money and helping to fuel his meteoric rise from a virtually unknown mayor of the fourth-largest town in Indiana to a serious contender vying to unseat President Trump next year.
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New filings released by the Federal Election Commission this week revealed the mayor of South Bend, Indiana fundraised $19.1 million in the third quarter — only Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren outraised Buttigieg — powered, in part, by a slew of celebrities.
Buttigieg received donations from Alyssa Milano ($3,050), Michael J. Fox ($2,800), Jennifer Garner ($2,800), David Hyde Pierce ($2,800), Zachary Woods ($2,500), Emmy Rossum ($1,500), Anthony Rapp ($1,500), Ben Platt ($1,000), George Takei ($1,000), Christine Taylor ($1,000) and Thomas Lennon ($900).
Of course, celebrities have also given to other presidential campaigns, just not in quite the same capacity. Mark Ruffalo, Jason Mraz and Matthew McGorry all donated to Sanders’ campaign, while Warren raked in money from David Pierce, Lance Reddick, Rosie O’Donnell, Lily Tomlin, Chelsea Peretti, Wiliam Baldwin and Adam Arkin.
A recent Fox News poll, released ahead of the fourth Democratic debate on Tuesday, found support for Buttigieg hovering around 4 percent nationally, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Warren, Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris.
Buttigieg has positioned himself as a more moderate choice compared to Sanders and Warren — he clashed with the latter on stage this week over her support for Medicare-for-all — likely setting up a battle with Biden over the fight for centrist voters.
In 2018, however, before Buttigieg announced his candidacy, he seemingly tweeted support for Medicare-for-all, saying he'd been "on the record" about a single-payer health care system since 2004 (he cited an article he published in The Crimson, Harvard University's student newspaper). Politico first reported on the tweet.
"I, Pete Buttigieg, politician, do henceforth and forthwith declare, most affirmatively and indubitably, unto the ages, that I do favor Medicare for All, as I do favor any measure that would help get all Americans covered," he tweeted at the time. "Now if you'll excuse me, potholes await."
But Buttigieg is pushing a starkly different health care proposal, which he named "Medicare for All Who Want It." Under that plan, Buttigieg said individuals will be able to opt in to an affordable public alternative or keep their private insurance.