Democratic presidential candidates in the party’s sixth primary debate took aim at Pete Buttigieg for his fundraisers with rich donors, lack of experience, and reluctance to embrace left-wing policies.
“Billionaires in wine caves cannot pick the next president of the United States,” said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday, referencing a fundraiser that Buttigieg attended in a Napa, California, wine cellar adorned with a Swarovski crystal chandelier. Warren noted she does not hold private fundraisers or “sell access” to her time.
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, leads in primary polls for the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus, holding 22% in RealClearPolitics’s average of state presidential primary polls. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has 20%, former Vice President Joe Biden has 18.8%, and Warren holds 16%.
Buttigieg largely escaped attacks in the November round, but they piled on during Thursday’s debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Tensions that had been simmering between Warren and Buttigieg over campaign contributions and his resistance to left-wing ideas such as federally paid college boiled over in the second hour of the debate.