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South Bend Mayor becomes first presidential candidate to file for Virginia's March primary ballot

Supporters of Pete Buttigieg
Supporters of Pete Buttigieg deliver a petition of signatures to the Virginia Department of Elections. (Whittney Evans/VPM News)

Pete Buttigieg is the first democratic presidential candidate to file to be on Virginia’s March 2020 primary ballot, elections officials confirmed. Campaign officials with the South Bend, In., mayor handed in the paperwork Monday to the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT). 

Virginia is one of 16 states to hold its primary or caucus on Super Tuesday, which refers to the Tuesday in a presidential election year when the largest number of states and territories put primary candidates on a ballot.

Buttigieg visited Virginia for the first time in June to speak at the Blue Commonwealth Gala, which is the largest annual fundraising event for the Virginia Democratic Party. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar also attended the event. Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke was the first candidate to stump in the Commonwealth, before dropping out of the race earlier this month. 

Buttigieg supporters, like Belinda Santos from Arlington, stood outside the state capitol Monday afternoon with signs endorsing the candidate and boxes of signatures to submit to the elections department. Santos says her whole family “adores him.” 

“He’s the smartest. He’s the most educated. And I think he has the best platform and plans as a whole,” she explained. 

Buttigieg’s campaign collected more than 12,000 signatures from Virginia voters, surpassing the 5,000 required to get on the ballot.

Associate Political Science Professor Rich Meagher of Randolph-Macon College said the presidential hopeful is trying to win over Virginia voters early and to capitalize on recent momentum he’s seeing on the campaign trail. 

“It can signal to a state that a presidential candidate finds that state to be important or that they are signalling to voters in that state that they care about the voters in that state,” Meagher said.

Super Tuesday is March 3, 2020. The deadline for presidential primary candidates to file to appear on the Virginia ballot is Dec. 12, 2019.


Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.