COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Pete Buttigieg surged into the lead among Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa.
A new CNN/DesMoines Register poll shows Buttigieg polling at 25 percent, about 10 points ahead of Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders.
As an openly gay candidate, Buttigieg’s growing acceptance by voters is seen by some as a significant milestone for gay rights.
Rupert “Twink” Starr, 97, said the progress in his lifetime of electing openly gay candidates to local offices has been encouraging.
Starr met Buttigieg when the candidate was in Columbus last month.
“I’m very proud of him,” Starr said.
Starr, a World War II veteran and former POW, said Buttigieg, also a veteran, is smart, principled and has common sense answers to the issues.
But Starr does not believe the country is ready to elect a gay president.
“I think he needs time,” Starr said.
Mary Jo Hudson, the first openly gay elected official in Columbus, calls the success of the Buttigieg campaign is a big deal.
“For younger gay people, they’ve seen gay elected officials,” Hudson said. “But for people 40 and older, it’s really significant. I hope he does really well and I’m excited about it.”