The rise of Pete Buttigieg since mid-March, after a long pass for the Democratic presidential nomination, to one of the main candidates, has surprised many people – including the candidate himself.
"At this point in the game, we always expected to introduce ourselves and even defend the idea that something so bold was appropriate," Buttigieg told Fox News. "Instead, we find that we have entered the higher category."
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Just two months ago Buttigieg was still explaining how to pronounce her name. This explanation is rarely needed because the candidate is preparing for a public meeting of Fox News Sunday night in New Hampshire. He has seen his voting numbers skyrocket, his fundraising flourish and his appearances in the national media – as well as the crowd at his campaign events – multiply.
Not bad for a candidate who entered the race with a name recognition that pales in comparison to his more famous rivals, such as former Vice President Joe Biden and White House dual candidate, Bernie Sanders, alongside famous senators like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala. Harris and Cory Booker. As mayor of South Bend, two terms – only the fourth most populous city in Indiana – Buttigieg thought it would take longer.
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"The trajectory is pretty crazy," he admitted. "Our plan was that we spend the spring and summer just to make our name known."
Its challenge now – turn the wave of the past two months into a great campaign and keep the momentum going.
"We have a lot of work to do, block and tackle the field work, the field organizations that we have created in the early states and that's really going to decide if we can win from first votes early next year, "he said.
The Buttigieg campaign quickly moved beyond its first headquarters – located in South Bend – and moved into larger facilities last month. The campaign told Fox News that a few days ago there were 60 staff at headquarters and in the states of primaries and caucuses in advance polls.
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The mayor, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who, if elected, would become the first openly homosexual president in US history, acknowledged that "the initial spike will stabilize and we will work for maintain a strong position, but especially to organize behind us, so that we have people on the ground, the organizers on the ground … that is what really puts you in shape. "
Buttigieg risks losing control of his campaign before the start of the main vote – a complication for Beto O. Rourke, whose darling media status earned him the cover of Vanity Fair magazine even before he be announced, but who has struggled recently in polls, knows too well.
President Trump, meanwhile, sought to knock out Pete, nicknamed him after Mad Magazine's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, and suggesting he's failing to negotiate on the world stage with rivals like China.
Buttigieg says he's not letting the new attention go to his head.
"We do not fool ourselves. It's not like I'm in first place, and most people who do not follow each other in this race do not even know what my message is, "he said.
Part of the strategy is to reach voters in places where Democrats do not always work.
In front of the Fox News town hall, he said, "I'm afraid that Fox's viewers do not even understand what the Democratic message is if we do not have Democratic candidates to deliver that message.
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"We're talking about a media that touches millions of Americans who may not be as exposed to us as viewers in other networks. It's all the more important for me to be there. "