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Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is getting help from an unlikely source: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.
Zuckerberg and Chan have approached Pete Buttigieg with names of people they thought should be added to his campaign staff, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Zuckerberg and Cha sent emails to Buttigieg campaign manager Mike Schmuhl with recommendations, and ultimately two of those people were hired: Eric Mayefsky, a senior digital analytics adviser, and Nina Wornhoff, an organizing data manager.
Mayefsky had worked for Facebook and Wornhoff had worked with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the family’s LLC aimed at combating disease, promoting education and other such efforts. A spokesman for the Zuckerberg and Chan said they were asked for recommendations and it doesn’t mean they’re backing Buttigieg.
“Mark and Priscilla have not decided who to support for President,” spokesman Ben LaBolt told Bloomberg.
Democrats aren't exactly racing for Zuckerberg’s endorsement right now, anyway. Indeed, most of the Democratic field appears to be running against Silicon Valley, and spent good portion of last week’s debate bashing Facebook.
Democratic front-runner Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for Facebook to be broken up, while Joe Biden has spoken out against the company after it refused to take down an attack ad that lied about the former vice president.
Zuckerberg, meanwhile, has felt it necessary to go on a charm offensive — via private meetings and Fox News appearances — to convince high-profile Republicans that Facebook isn’t biased against conservatives.
Buttigieg’s campaign played off the recommendations from Zuckerberg and Chan as the couple simply making introductions.
“From the CNN Town hall in March to our launch a month later, we literally got 7,000 resumes,” campaign spokesman Chris Meagher told Bloomberg. “I think that he (Zuckerberg) thought Eric would be a good staff hire with a lot of experience and same with Nina and Priscilla.”
Buttigieg remains behind Warren, Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, but he has some reason for optimism. He’s had no issue raising money for his campaign, raking in dollars from Silicon Valley especially.
A new poll from USA Today/Suffolk University also showed he had surged to third place in Iowa. The survey pegged support for Buttigieg at 13%, just five percentage points behind Biden and four behind Warren.
Cover: Democratic presidential hopeful South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg greets campaign volunteers before departing a rally outside the Reading Terminal Market in Center City Philadelphia, PA, on October 20, 2019 (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)