Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign has spent some $300,000 on private jet travel in 2019, the Associated Press reports. That's more than any other candidate in the crowded Democratic primary field. That could make Buttigieg an easy target for rival candidates:
The expenditures have enabled the South Bend, Indiana, mayor to keep up an aggressive schedule, shuttling from his campaign headquarters in his hometown to fundraisers and political events across the country. But his reliance on charter flights contrasts sharply with his image as a Rust Belt mayor who embodies frugality and Midwestern modesty.
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That could prove to be a liability in a contest in which relatability to everyday people is often key.
Buttigieg's campaign argues the private jet travel is sometimes necessary given the distance between the campaign's headquarters in South Bend, Ind., where the candidate continues to serve as mayor despite significant opposition from his African-American constituents, and major airports.
"We are careful with how we spend our money, and we fly commercial as often as possible," Buttigieg spokesman Chris Meagher told the AP.
Meanwhile, Beto O'Rourke, whose presidential hopes have been completely derailed by Buttigieg's candidacy, has indicated that he might go after Buttigieg for his lavish spending during the next week's Democratic debate in Detroit.
As Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg prepare to face off for the first time in Detroit next week at the CNN debate, it would appear the Beto O’Rourke campaign is subtweeting Pete Buttigieg’s use of private planes and grassroots fundraisers: pic.twitter.com/a8Funxh6GQ
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) July 23, 2019
Buttigieg, who led all Democrats by raising almost $25 million in the second quarter of 2019, has also racked up enormous hotel bills compared to other candidates. His campaign spent more than $100,000 at a Hilton hotel in Miami during the first round of Democratic debates in June, far more than any other campaign.