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Pete Buttigieg releases black support between 2 mayoral runs, data shows




 Pete Buttigieg sits with civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton at a restaurant in Harlem, New York "title =" Pete Buttigieg sits with civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton at a restaurant in Harlem, New York

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg (L) or South Bend, Indiana and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton (R), President of the National Action Network, hold a lunch meeting at Sylvias Restaurant in Harlem, New York, Monday, April 29, 2019. | Bebeto Matthews / AFP / Getty Images 2020 elections

South Bend's mayor, now contending with a police shooting, has long struggled to overcome black voters' skepticism.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – As Mayor Pete Buttigieg contends with the fallout from the shooting of a black man at a white police officer in his city, a policy analysis of data from his earlier shows shows the struggle to win the confidence of the city's black voters following a series of controversies in his first term

Detailed precinct results from South Bend's 2011 and 2015 mayoral races show Buttigieg repeatedly lagging behind black primary challengers in many of western South Bend's predominantly black neighborhoods. And while Buttigieg managed to win those precincts in two general elections against white Republican opponents, his support in these areas fell after his first term.

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In the 2011 general election, Buttigieg had some of his highest margins of victory in these neighborhoods – a typical result for a Democrat facing a Republican opponent in South Bend. But by 2015, western South Bend gave him his weakest results after his support plunged by more than 20 points in some precincts.

Interviews with city council members, forms political opponents and local residents suggest that Buttigieg's management style – heavy on outside expertise and top-down implementation – may have alienated grassroots voices, and complaint that registered strongly in South Bend's black communities, where the desire to be heard and consulted has historic resonance.

"Because he's the smartest guy in the room, he's gonna tell you what you believe is true, and that his study and his understanding of it is better than yours," said Henry Davis Jr., a former city ​​council member and Buttigieg's primary opponent in 2015. Davis won just 22 percent of the vote against the incumbent citywide, but ran even with Buttigieg in South Bend's predominantly black precincts.