MANCHESTER, NH – Pete Buttigieg has been to Manchester before, but now his campaign has a place in the Queen City as well.
The presidential campaign of South Bend, IN, “Mayor Pete” opened the first of its 12 New Hampshire campaign offices on Thursday in Manchester, almost directly across from SNHU Arena on Elm Street.
It was the first of four office openings for the campaign on Thursday alone, with office openings in Concord, Laconia and Lebanon scheduled later on Thursday, followed by Claremont, Keene, Nashua and Derry on Friday, Portsmouth and Somersworth on Saturday and Conway and Berlin on Sunday.
From an exploratory committee in January that included just four people, the campaign is now up to just under 400 staffers across the country following this string of office openings.
Thursday’s event marked just one point in the latest phase of the campaign that Pete Buttigieg’s National Presidential Campaign Manager Mike Schmuhl refers to as phase three or “the Pete Wave.”
“I feel really good about where we are. Labor Day is going to be hugely significant for us,” said Schmuhl. “We’re opening offices across the country, hiring more staff, increasing our outreach efforts and trying to meet with people.”
The opening in Manchester included words from campaign staff, as well as Pete’s husband, Chasten, and State Representative Matthew Wilhelm (D-Manchester).
Each of the speakers told the assembled crowd they see the new office space as an extension of the campaign’s hope of bringing a place to belong to those who don’t belong anywhere else, with Wilhelm praising Buttigieg’s support of national service programs.
Wilhelm, who represents Manchester Wards 1, 2 and 3 in Concord and is a veteran of Americorps, endorsed Buttigieg in July. He’s one of five current state representatives to endorse Buttigieg so far.
“Mayor Pete is running a values-based campaign, he talks often about a crisis of belonging in this country, and every interaction I’ve had with Pete for America campaign staff has shown me it’s more than just words, it’s actions,” he said.
Not everyone in the crowd at the opening was firmly was in the Buttigieg camp just yet, however.
Keating Tufts, co-owner of Boards and Brews, joined Chasten at the office opening after Chasten stopped by Boards and Brews just prior to the event.
Tufts is looking to learn more about Buttigieg’s policies before making a decision, but described the office opening as a positive experience.
“It’s always interesting to see whose people’s friends are, it says a lot about them,” said Tufts. “I learned a lot more about Pete and his mission by meeting people who support him the closest, which is a good thing. I’m definitely glad I took the time today to meet some of his crew.”