Buttigieg quickly growing campaign in early voting Nevada

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is using an impressive fundraising haul to quickly grow his campaign in the early voting state of Nevada, erasing a slow start that trailed other candidates.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had been running a minimal operation in Nevada, which will be the third to vote in the Democratic primary next year. But after he brought in nearly $25 million in contributions last quarter, Buttigieg has been rapidly catching up with his competitors in early states.

The campaigns of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris each had roughly 30 staffers in Nevada by early July and have been growing.

Buttigieg, who hired his first Nevada staffer in June, now has 35 there, according to his campaign, along with offices in east Las Vegas, Henderson and even rural Elko.

He also plans to open seven more offices by mid-October, including in Reno, Carson City, Fallon and Pahrump. That will put him ahead of all the others — including Warren, who has six offices.

Paul Selberg, Buttigieg’s state director in Nevada, said it’s not too late for the campaign to catch up with other candidates.

“Frankly, Nevadans and voters across the nation are just starting to tune into this race,” said Selberg, who most recently worked for Democrats in the state Assembly.

Buttigieg will be campaigning in the state three times over the next month, including a visit to northern Nevada on Saturday, where he will hold a rally, meet with housing activists and attend a Democratic Party dinner in Reno, Selberg said. Candidate Tom Steyer is also scheduled to speak at the dinner.

Buttigieg also has hired the Nevada Democratic Party’s former executive director, Travis Brock, to serve as his national director overseeing organizing for caucuses, including those in first-in-line Iowa and Nevada.

Brock previously oversaw the operation of Nevada’s caucuses in 2008 when he worked for the state party. He’ll be based in Nevada, along with Juan Carlos Perez, whom Buttigieg has brought on as a national director focused on engaging with the Latino community. Perez previously worked for the League of United Latin American Citizens and an environmental nonprofit called GreenLatinos.

Other Nevada hires include senior adviser Martin Fitzgerald, who previously worked for Democrats in the state Legislature and for the voting rights group Let America Vote.

Olivia Bercow, who worked at the youth voter group NextGen America, will serve as Buttigieg’s Nevada communications director, and Carter Black, who worked for NextGen in Virginia, will serve as the campaign’s deputy organizing director in Nevada.

Buttigieg also has hired Katie Davis as deputy political director, Mo Shatara as organizing director and Ruben Lebron as a deputy organizing director.