Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks at a campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire on Feb. 9. (Photo by Maxwell Surprenant)
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Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg rallies in New Hampshire

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg held a campaign rally in Nashua, New Hampshire on Feb. 9.

Buttigieg, 38-years-old and the youngest candidate, began his campaign with little recognition, but has now propelled himself toward the forefront of the race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders have criticized Buttigieg about his lack of experience. Buttigieg, however, presents his youth and his status as a “Washington outsider” as positive factors, emphasizing the value of “judgement over tenure.”

“We need to bring new voices to Washington DC,” Buttigieg said. “People are tired of being a punchline for Washington politicians or a talking point for the pundits. We need our stories brought to Washington.”

Buttigieg drew a contrast between himself and Sanders, who is known to take an extremist stance.

“The idea that you’ve either got to be for a revolution or the status quo leaves most of us out,” Buttigieg said. “We need a politics that brings all of us in because all of us need a new and better president.”

Pete Buttigieg supporters chant “BOOT-EDGE-EDGE” at a rally in Nashua, New Hampshire on Feb. 9. (Photo by Maxwell Surprenant)

His background as a Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar, military veteran, and former mayor South Bend, Ind. — a blue-collar midwestern city has afforded him life experiences that many Washington politicians lack. He offers a “leave the politics of the past in the past,” approach to the hot topics of this election — climate crisis, healthcare, gun control, and immigration.

Buttigieg’s first place finish in the Iowa Caucuses over Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren startled most political experts. His New Hampshire Debate performance and his close second place finish to Sanders in the New Hampshire Primary established Buttigieg as a candidate who not only has the potential to win the Democratic nomination, but also take on incumbent President Donald Trump in the general election.

Like all of the Democratic candidates in New Hampshire, Buttigieg was careful to remind the crowd of the mission which unifies the Democratic party: to defeat Trump.

“Let’s remember that we are facing the most divisive president of our time, which is why we can’t risk dividing Americans further,” Buttigieg said.

Jonah Krasnow, an 18-year-old from Sudbury, Mass., said he’s followed Buttigieg’s campaign for a year. At the rally, the new voter expressed concerns about national unity.

“A lot of the other Democratic candidates seem to be spreading a very divisive message,” Krasnow said. “Pete, on the other hand, seems to be bringing people together and uniting people toward a more common goal.”