2020 Dems Stood With Uber and Lyft Strike, Then Crossed Picket Line

Booker, Buttigieg, Castro spent hundreds on rides on day of protest

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August 21, 2019

As many Democratic presidential candidates voiced support for the one-day boycott of Uber and Lyft, their campaigns were spending hundreds on rides with each, campaign filings show.

Many presidential candidates spoke out on May 8, 2019, in favor of Uber and Lyft drivers, who asked consumers to stand with them by refraining from using the services as they fought for higher wages and more job security. Among the candidates who chose to join the one-day protest were Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

"I support Uber and Lyft drivers in their strike today as they say enough to unfair wages and mistreatment," Booker said on the day of the protest. "Let's all demand livable wages, better working conditions, and job security for drivers and workers across the country."

"I'm standing in solidarity with [Rideshare Drivers United] and all those striking across the country today for livable wages, more job security, and regulated fares." Buttigieg wrote.

"In solidarity with the thousands of Lyft and Uber drivers striking for better wages, benefits, and the right to unionize, my campaign will not be using their services today," Castro pledged.

Their campaign disclosures tell a different story.

On May 8, the day of the boycott, Booker's campaign spent $333.61 on rideshare services, according to its disclosures. It took six rides on Uber totaling $203.21, and an additional four rides on Lyft totaling $130.40.

Also on May 8, the Buttigieg campaign spent $269.34 on six Uber rides, and the Castro campaign spent $72.00 on three Lyft rides.

None of the three campaigns responded to requests for information on where the rides were taken, and whether it considered finding alternative modes of travel. A spokesman for Buttigieg emailed after this story was published to say no rides were taken on May 8, which was just the day the payments went through.

"This was one of those situations where rides were taken on different days, but didn't actually get charged until a different day," said the spokesman.

The only other Democratic presidential candidates whose campaigns used rideshare services on May 8 were former Maryland congressman John Delaney, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who has since ended his campaign.

None of them voiced support for the boycott or pledged to avoid the services.

All the campaigns use rideshare services extensively as they criss-cross the country visiting key primary battlegrounds, with thousands spent by Booker ($4,317), Buttigieg ($9,152), and Castro ($2,999) over the course of their campaigns.

Leading the way on rideshare spending, however, has been Kamala Harris's campaign, which has spent $14,708 thus far with Uber and Lyft. Her brother-in-law, Tony West, is currently the top lawyer for Uber.

Harris also spoke out in favor of the May 8 protest, and her campaign spent no money with either Uber or Lyft that day.

UPDATE 4:22 p.m.: This piece was updated with comment from a Buttigieg spokesman.

Published under: 2020 Election