More than 4,500 gather for Pete Buttigieg town hall

Feb 17, 2020, 11:07 PM | Updated: 11:51 pm


FILE: Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to an audience during a campaign rally, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Dover, N.H. Buttigieg hosted a town hall meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 17 where more than 4,500 people showed up. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — More than 4,500 Utahns gathered at the Union Event Center for the town hall meeting of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. The presidential hopeful encouraged the crowd to — regardless of party — unite to “get the job done.”

Buttigieg joined the crowd, thanking those who came out to support — Democrats and Republicans alike. Or, who he calls “future former Republicans.”

“This is proof that no state is a permanent red state,” Buttigieg said to the crowd.

Utah typically doesn’t see many presidential candidates, as its primaries and caucuses are often later than other states’. This year, the primary was moved to Super Tuesday on March 3, which has attracted more attention to the state.

Buttigieg attracts large crowd

The line wrapped around the building leading up to the event. The event began at 8:30 p.m. — but by 6:30 p.m., there were already 2,000 people lined up outside waiting for the doors to open at 7 p.m.

The campaign group said they changed venues of the town hall just days before the event because of the high RSVP count.

Volunteers say the grassroots campaign has grown tremendously since it launched March 2019. The campaign reports having 2,000 volunteers in Utah alone, who they say texted or called every supporter who RSVP’d to the event.

Tracey Dean, a member of the crowd, said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to vote for Buttigieg before the attending the town hall. However, after hearing him speak she said she has made up her mind.

“I think the fact that  he’s young is what is helping me,” she said. “He isn’t a career politician. He really knows what we need as a nation, and he doesn’t see diversity as something that is negative.”

Pat Norris, another member of the crowd, had similar feelings, pointing to challenges Buttigieg has dealt with as reasons why she would vote for him.

“He’s experienced a lot of challenges within that whole spectrum of biases and bigotry,” Norris said. “He’s bright and he’s a veteran. He has, in young years, has the experience. Yeah, he’s made some mistakes but haven’t we all?”

Norris said she still wasn’t sure who she would vote for, but she said she would vote for any Democratic candidate.

Mayor experience will help as president, Buttigieg tells crowd

Buttigieg thanked all the mayoral endorsements he has received in the past few days, noting that his experience as mayor will be beneficial as president.

“So when people say to me, ‘What makes you think a mayor can run for president? You’re just a mayor, you’re not a senator, you haven’t been marinating in Washington for years or for decades,'” he said. “I always say, ‘That’s the point.'”

Buttigieg says his experience in several areas of life will help him support and represent the American people. He pointed to his faith, veteran status and membership of the middle class as examples.

Buttigieg then addressed the crowd in a Q&A town hall style, saying it’s his favorite format for these events. He said it’s how they started the campaign and how they want to keep it going.

He said he wanted to change the idea of the purpose of presidency, noting it’s not for the “glorification” of the president.

“The purpose is the unification and empowerment of American people to get things done,” he said.

Points to urgency of change

Buttigieg carried a sense of urgency throughout the event. This is the “only chance,” he said, to put “the corruption behind us.”

He then pointed to the Senate impeachment trial as an example.

“The Senate may have been the jury then, but the verdict is up to us now,” he said.

Buttigieg pointed to the work that lies ahead of Americans that will be required to make change. He said being elected into office doesn’t end the battle — the work begins on day one.

“Think about it,” he said. “On that day, this country is going to be facing challenges we barely thought of just a few years ago […] We need to look to the future in order to govern in a time like that.”

He pointed to problems in the economy, international affairs, health epidemics, etc. that weren’t predicted to be issues years ago.

“Yes, these issues are tough issues for us to face as a country,” he said. “But we can do it if we’re ready to do it together. And I believe the power of the presidency is suited to the urgency of that moment.”

Buttigieg gains another Utah endorsement

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall introduced Buttigieg to the stage, moments after she surprised the candidate by officially endorsing him for the presidential nomination. Mendenhall said Buttigieg’s experience as mayor is what convinces her that he is the president that is best fit to beat President Donald Trump.

“I think every Democrat in the city is here — and 10% of the Republicans,” she joked to the crowd.

She said this mayoral knowledge helps Buttigieg to know Salt Lake City, Utah; South Bend, Indiana; and the rest of the country.

This makes Mendenhall the fourth endorsement in the last few days, following Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, former Salt Lake City mayor Ted Wilson and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Dr Kathy Raven, a forensic pathologist testifies about tammy daybell's cause of death...


Forensic pathologist called by defense says Tammy Daybell’s cause of death ‘undetermined’

A forensic pathologist testified in the murder trial of Chad Daybell that the death of his wife, Tammy Daybell, would be best classified as "undetermined."

54 minutes ago

FILE: Crossroads Urban Center is pictured in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Advocates f...

Ashley Fredde,

Advocates urge officials to include affordable housing in new sports and entertainment district

Crossroads Urban Center wants Salt Lake officials to mandate deeply affordable housing in a new sports and entertainment district.

2 hours ago

Police officers were responding Wednesday to a “confirmed active shooter” in a building at the ...

Sam Herrera

Suspect killed after alleged kidnapping in Millcreek

The Unified Police Department said officers got a call about a suspected kidnapping and hostage situation in Millcreek before the officer-involved shooting.

4 hours ago

An aerial shot shows Maurice Abravanel Hall in Downtown Salt Lake City....

Mariah Maynes

Renovating Abravanel Hall “makes more sense,” petition organizer says

The organizer of a petition to save Abravanel Hall from demolition said that renovating the performance space will be cheaper than demolishing.

5 hours ago

A map shows the location of Turks and Caicos....

Mariah Maynes

Five Americans facing prison time in Turks and Caicos

Five American tourists are facing prison time in Turks and Caicos after traveling to the island with ammunition.

8 hours ago

Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a break on the first day of his t...

Sam Herrera

Defense rests case in Trump hush money trial

The defense in the hush money trial rested its case just a day after the prosecution rested.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

More than 4,500 gather for Pete Buttigieg town hall