Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is emerging as Wall Street’s favorite candidate, pulling in $935,000 this year from the securities and investment industry.
From July through September, he received $55,000 from employees at consulting firm McKinsey and Co. Buttigieg worked for McKinsey from 2007 to 2010, but has distanced himself from the firm in recent years.
“I don’t regret the work that I did there, because I did good work,” says Buttigieg. “I am upset about decisions that they made that I think are, first of all, wrong, and secondly, for anybody who has worked there, it’s upsetting to be associated with a company that went on and made those decisions.”
McKinsey has been criticized for helping Purdue Pharma boost sales of OxyContin and counter DEA efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions. In May, the company agreed stop all work related to the sale of opioid painkillers.
“Part of the problem for them is that they want to be amoral like a law firm, but there’s no right to management consulting the way there is a right to legal representation in the United States,” says Buttigieg. “The opioid stuff is just horrifying.”
As a McKinsey consultant, Buttigieg worked on logistics, energy, retail, and economic development – including trips to Afghanistan and Iraq to help grow private sector employment in war zones. Buttigieg says he didn’t work on anything he “didn’t believe in or feel comfortable about.”
Buttigieg is also popular at JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Facebook, and Google. He leads the field in the amount of online donations received from California tech employees and has raised more money in Connecticut (the wealthiest state in the US due to its connections to Wall Street) than any other candidate.
“Buttigieg isn’t a fallback for people, he’s running a remarkable campaign and he’s doing well in Iowa,” says Robert M. Shrum, Director of the Center for the Political Future. “His appeal is decidedly generational and now that he’s a viable candidate people are going to gravitate towards him, much like they did with former President Barack Obama…He’s very smart, very young, and very articulate. He has an appeal to these folks and I think they believe correctly that he really understands the new age that’s coming in terms of technology.”
Buttigieg is currently polling in fourth place with 7.1% support. Overall, his campaign has raised $51.5 million.
“Silicon Valley and Wall Street thought Biden was going to be the one to stop Warren or Sanders from being the nominee,” says tech entrepreneur Cyrus Radfar. “But corporate types who have supported Biden have come to the conclusion that they need someone else…Now people like Zuckerberg are leading the way and they’re looking for a new moderate, business-friendly candidate because they don’t think Biden is going to make it to the finish line…In Buttigieg, they’ve found a young attractive rising candidate to be the anti-Warren.”
James Murdoch (son of Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch) endorsed Buttigieg last month, describing him as ‘part of a new generation of leaders that is ready to handle some of the hardest challenges that we have.’
Author’s Note: If Wall Street hates Sanders and Warren because they are socialists and if Joe Biden is destroyed by the Ukraine scandal, Buttigieg just might have a shot at winning the Democratic nomination.