“When I first heard that he was really seriously considering a run,” says author Paul Mason Barnes of Pete Buttigieg, “I thought, wow, that’s fantastic! An openly gay mayor from South Bend, Indiana.” But his next thought, he told Out in the Bay, was “Not a snowball’s chance in hell.”
Our guest this week served on Pete Buttigieg’s ground-breaking presidential campaign and wrote a book about it called, Paul for Pete: Politics. Theatre. Life. One Man’s Adventures (Or, How I Became A Septuagenarian Fanboy). His passion and that of many other volunteers swept Buttigieg into the national limelight.
Barnes reconsidered Buttigieg’s odds before joining his campaign. “We elected a black president twice by overwhelming popular vote margins. We elected a female candidate [by] overwhelming margin popular vote, and then this failed real estate developer became our president,” Barnes reasoned. “So clearly to me, anything was possible in American politics.”
Barnes shares his adventure of trying to get Mayor Pete to the White House – while an active, cross-country traveling theatre director – with Out in the Bay founder Eric Jansen. With critical midterm elections just weeks away, Barnes hopes to inspire others to get involved at the grassroots level by showing that individuals can make an impact.
Although not elected president, Buttigieg did make it to the White House. He now serves in President Biden’s Cabinet as Secretary of Transportation, the first openly LGBTQ person to be confirmed to a Cabinet position.
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Photo of then-presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg in January 2020 by Leslie Ginsburg at a supporter’s home in Denver, Colorado.