U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice announced on Nov. 26, that she was endorsing South Bed Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president. With the announcement, Rice, a Garden City Democrat whose 4th Congressional District covers Baldwin, Freeport, Garden City, Levittown, Long Beach, the Village of Hempstead and parts of Hicksville, Mineola, Valley Stream and Wantagh became the third member of Congress to back Buttigieg’s candidacy.
Democratic representatives Don Beyer, of Virginia, and Indiana Rep. Pete Viscolsky previously endorsed Buttigieg. The endorsements helped push Buttigieg’s candidacy forward in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. But overall, his support remains in low single digits, well behind front-runners former Vice-President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Rice made plain her dissatisfaction with her party’s aging leadership last year when she criticized Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s candidacy for the House speakership, arguing that the Democratic caucus needed a “generational change.”
In endorsing Buttigieg, Rice praised his fresh perspective and what she called his ability to reach voters from across the political spectrum.
“He has introduced bold yet commonsense policies that will address both our nation’s long- and short-term challenges,” she said in a statement. She also singled him out for avoiding “the divisive rhetoric that too often derails these important conversations.”
Rice said she admired the fact that “he’s done it by not over-promising things and pandering to the base, and he doesn’t use … a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. … He’s really demonstrated an unmatched ability and a willingness to reach voters where they are,” she said.
Rice backed former Rep. Beto O’Rourke until the El Paso Democrat suspended his campaign earlier this month.
“We have to be a party and nation that looks to the future for our solutions, not to the past,” Rice said in her statement. “I want a candidate who can bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to Washington, and I think Pete’s that voice.”