It was apparent that Buttigieg came in expecting the question– minutes after he said his campaign planned to unveil a tool that would allow people to watch videos of him discussing specific policies and issues on his website, the feature was live.
“We’re in the second week of my campaign being official,” Buttigieg said. “We’ll continue building our website accordingly, too.”
The scene illustrates how Buttigieg is working to match his rising poll numbers with a campaign befitting a top-tier candidate, and how that campaign is deploying some novel digital tools to take advantage of it.
Three months ago, none of this seemed likely.
Buttigieg’s campaign staff could be counted on one hand when he announced an exploratory committee in January. The idea that he would have to fly private at times — something he is now doing to meet the demands of the campaign — would have sounded like a fairytale. And the prospect of having an extensive advance team to set up events capable of hosting 1,600 would-be supporters would have been laughed off.
Buttigieg and his aides say they always believed they would have a moment. But none — including the mayor himself — thought it would happen so quickly.
For Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s 36-year-old campaign manager and longtime friend, the key moment came after the mayor’s first CNN town hall in March. It was then, Schmuhl said, that he realized he “didn’t need to just build a plane while flying, but a rocket ship while taking off” in order to keep up…