Buttigieg’s scheduled visits also closely mimic the messaging and locations that resonated with Iowans — broadening his coalition from Democrats to independents and “future former Republicans,” a line he regularly trots out on the stump.
“Go everywhere, talk to everyone and go places that other people aren’t going — that’s a part of the strategy for the campaign and its surrogates,” said Maura Sullivan, a 2018 Democratic congressional candidate and Buttigieg endorser, noting his frequent visits to Sullivan County, which flipped from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. “[Buttigieg] is winning over Independents there.”
In New Hampshire, Independents can vote in the Democratic primary because of the state’s open primary system, which could advantage a more center-left candidate like Buttigieg “If they feel like Bernie is a real threat to become the nominee,” said Ben LaBolt, who worked on Obama’s presidential campaigns.
The focus on bringing in moderates and independents is “their way of addressing the electability question, and now they can back it up with data from Iowa,” LaBolt said, noting that Buttigieg won 21 counties that flipped from Obama to Trump in Iowa, totaling more than 60 percent of those pivot counties. “Now, that’s a much stronger argument as he’s moving through New Hampshire.”