Barney Frank: Beto O’Rourke ‘may be regretting he’s straight’ amid Pete Buttigieg surge

May 5, 2019

Former Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay man to serve in Congress, says that Beto O’Rourke “may be regretting he’s straight,” given how well Pete Buttigieg is performing in the Democratic presidential primary polls.

Mr. Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who retired in 2013 after 32 years in the House, said being gay had helped Mr. Buttigieg separate himself from the crowded 2020 field of white male candidates.

“His being gay is an advantage and, if he were straight, I don’t think he would be doing as well,” Mr. Frank, who came out in 1987 after being elected in 1980, told the Boston Globe in a Friday interview.

“It attracts attention to him and he gets points for being open and honest and gives people a chance to affirm their lack of prejudice,” said Mr. Frank, adding, “I think Beto O’Rourke may be regretting that he’s straight.”

Mr. O’Rourke, the ex-Texas congressman, has been leapfrogged in the polls by Mr. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, although both trail front-runners former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders by a significant margin.

Mr. Buttigieg has enjoyed widespread media coverage, including appearing on the cover of this week’s Time magazine with his husband Chasten Buttigieg under the headline, “First Family.”

11 years ago, when I came out, I didnt think there was a place for me in this world. 10 months ago we said I do.1 month ago we said lets do this.Today: pic.twitter.com/7642YUw40n Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) May 2, 2019

The 37-year-old mayor is the first openly gay Democratic presidential contender. In 2012, Fred Karger became the first openly gay Republican to seek the GOP’s presidential nomination.