Pete Buttigieg shares emotional encounters with older LGBT+ people on the campaign trail

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on a campaign stop in Iowa

Democratic Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has spoken about the impact his campaign has had on older LGBT+ people.

In an interview with the New York Times editorial board published on Thursday, the Democrat spoke about the impact his campaign has had on people who might not have ever imagined an out-and-proud mainstream presidential candidate becoming a reality in the lifetimes.

He said: “You have older folks who, and it’s not unusual — I would say every rope line, well maybe not every rope line, but often, somebody comes up to me, looks at me, starts to try to say something and can’t.

“They’re usually in their 50s or older, and I know exactly what they’re saying and that’s all it takes. And that is extraordinary.”

Buttigieg said he also hears from plenty of young people “letting me know that I’m helping them in some way just by doing this”.

Pete Buttigieg: ‘First’ candidates don’t usually win.

He added: “It’s not why I got into this race, but it’s part of what this campaign means, and I’m very mindful of that.

“I’m also very mindful from a historic perspective that usually… When somebody’s broken a barrier going into the presidency, it’s usually not been the first person to make the attempt.

“So, the first woman president will not be the first woman to run for president. The first African-American president was not the first African-American to run for president.

“So, analytically, I’m conscious of the fact that I seek the presidency, if elected, I’d be the first out gay president, and I’m the first elected official to make the attempt.”

Democratic presidential hopeful former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to voters in Cedar Falls, Iowa on January 15, 2020

Democratic presidential hopeful former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to voters in Cedar Falls, Iowa on January 15, 2020 (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Presidential hopeful continued: “It’s one more reason I’m motivated to make sure that I do the very best to win and to deserve to win.”

Candidate trails as primary season begins

Despite a surge in 2019, Buttigieg’s campaign is ailing ahead of the official start of the February 3 Iowa caucus, which marks the official start of the primary season.

Polls currently have him on seven per cent of the vote nationally – behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, while late entrant Michael Bloomberg is gaining ground with centrists thanks to a well-funded ad blitz.

However, if he does secure the Democratic nomination, polling indicated that Buttigieg may well manage to oust Donald Trump in November.

In a head-to-head match-up, 46 per cent of people would vote for Donald Trump while 47 percent would vote for Pete Buttigieg.

Biden, Sanders and Bloomberg would all also beat Trump if the US presidential election were held today, the poll found – though Trump has a narrow lead in a head-to-head vote against Elizabeth Warren.