Kamala Harris’ Allies Worried About Messy 24 Primary Vs. Pete Buttigieg

Vice President Kamala Harris' allies think she'd face a tough primary against Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Win McNamee/Getty Images; AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Vice President Kamala Harris’ former staffers and fundraisers anticipate a potentially messy primary if she goes up against fellow Cabinet member Pete Buttigieg in a race for the White House.

A free-for-all Democratic presidential primary could come as early as 2024 if President Joe Biden decides he won’t run for reelection, though he has said that he plans to. Some Democratic donors and strategists are already privately discussing what the field could look like in 2024 if Biden opts out.

One former rival who’s firmly on Kamalaworld’s radar: Buttigieg, the transportation secretary and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor who’s the only other 2020 Democratic primary candidate now serving in the Biden administration.

A possible Harris versus Buttigieg contest is at least a few years off, but the topic has gotten more attention now that donors who support Buttigieg have been strategizing about how to prod him to run in 2024 if there’s an open seat, as Insider recently reported.

“I have no doubt that he’s going to run and he’s not going to need much persuading,” said Steve Phillips, a longtime Harris fundraiser and a San Francisco-based Democratic donor who founded the organization Democracy in Color. The early organization of Buttigieg donors “is going to piss off some significant set of people,” Phillips said. “The K-Hive is a very energetic and fiercely loyal constituency.”

People close to Buttigieg are stressing that he’s not behind the donors’ 2024 strategizing, and people close to Buttigieg and Harris say they’ve become friendly as colleagues in the Biden administration and are focused on their current jobs.

Some of Harris’ allies are irked by what they view as contrasting media coverage surrounding the vice president and the transportation secretary early in the administration. Harris has faced criticism for dysfunction in her office, a botched immigration interview, and appearing in a space video with child actors.

“Pete’s getting a lot of wonderful stories,” one former Harris donor said. “People have such a positive feeling of Pete. It’s just this fuzzy feeling. The only news we hear about him is that he adopted two kids.”

Insider interviewed a dozen former Harris staffers, fundraisers, and Washington Democratic insiders about early discussions of a 2024 presidential primary. Most of them spoke on background to avoid gaming out future White House elections before Biden makes a formal announcement about whether he’ll seek a second term or bow out of presidential politics after finally fulfilling his longtime career goal.

Author : Robin Bravender

Source : Business Insider : Kamala Harris’ allies are worried that if Buttigieg challenges her in 2024 it would be ugly and help Republicans