2020 Candidate Pete Buttigieg Steps Up African American Voter Outreach, Plans Meeting With Al Sharpton

2020 Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to meet with Reverend Al Sharpton next week in New York to talk African American outreach.

Buttigieg, 37, and the 64-year-old civil rights activist, who founded the National Action Network, will sit down to lunch on April 29 at the famed Sylvia's Restaurant in Harlem, where Sharpton met with Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another 2020 candidate, in February. Sharpton has met other candidates, including former President Barack Obama, at the venue.

According to a press release, Buttigieg and Sharpton will discuss "the need to confront homophobia in the faith community as well as the Mayor's policy agenda for the Black community in Indiana and around the country." The move is in line with Buttigieg's previous statement that "any white candidate needs to show a level of consciousness around issues like white privilege."

Buttigieg isn't the only 2020 candidate pushing for the African American vote in recent weeks. Earlier this month, most of the leading 2020 Democratic candidates—Senators Harris, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)—spoke at Sharpton's four-day National Action Network conference in New York. Buttigieg, former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke (D) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (D) also made an appearance at the event.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced his 2020 bid on Thursday after months of speculation, did not appear at the conference. However, he did speak at another event organized by Sharpton in Washington, D.C. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January.

Buttigieg, a gay, veteran Midwest mayor, officially launched his presidential campaign earlier this month in South Bend, Indiana. "My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete," Buttigieg said to loud applause. "I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States."

In the latest Monmouth University Poll, released last week, Buttigieg surged to 8 percent among a field of 24 already announced and potential Democratic candidates, a figure much higher than the 1 percent he garnered in the previous poll conducted by the same researchers. Biden held the No. 1 spot, with 26 percent of votes from Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents, while Sanders lagged slightly behind with 20 percent. Buttigieg's support appears to be in line with Harris', who also gathered 8 percent of votes. Meanwhile, Warren fell to 6 percent, and O'Rourke to 4 percent.

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Democratic Presidential candidate, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg attends a campaign stop at Stonyfield Farms on April 19, 2019 in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Buttigieg will meet Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City on Monday. Scott Eisen/Getty Images
2020 Candidate Pete Buttigieg Steps Up African American Voter Outreach, Plans Meeting With Al Sharpton | U.S.