Buttigieg, voters weigh in on South Bend councilman's endorsement of Biden

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Longtime South Bend Common Councilman Oliver is endorsing Joe Biden for president.

The endorsement for Biden comes as Buttigieg is facing criticism about his appeal to black voters in the 2020 race. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows him with zero percent of the black vote in South Carolina while Biden is polling at 44 percent.

Davis is the longest-serving African-American man on the council and a known critic of the Mayor. Davis ran for mayor of South Bend this year and lost to Buttigieg’s Chief of Staff James Mueller, who Buttigieg endorsed as his preferred candidate.  

Davis said one of the reasons he’s supporting Biden is because he thinks he has the experience to beat President Donald Trump.

“The person when I looked at the stage the other night, with all due respect to our mayor, is Vice President Joe Biden,” Davis said. “There’s some wisdom to young leadership. The democratic party has sometimes picked the younger leader however, in time of crisis that may not always be the best.”

It’s no secret that the outgoing councilman and the Mayor have had an antagonist relationship. The pair sharing different views on multiple locals issues such as Davis speaking out against Buttigieg's plan to build permanent supportive housing for the homeless earlier this year and the city knocking down the council's plan for a work program to address panhandling. 

“I think Mayor Pete and I both are city leaders who have shared many of our decisions together and we have had differences on other opinions.”

Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake Tapper him and Davis have disagreed on politics a great deal.

“Not to take you into the whole story of South Bend politics, but I respect him coming from a different place politically. Obviously no one person speaks for black voters in South Bend and I’m proud of some of the black supporters who know me best from Indiana and from South Bend,” Buttigieg said.

One of those black supporters is Kareemah Fowler, South Bend’s former city clerk and the first person of color to be elected to a full time executive position in the city. She said her biggest supporter and inspiration to run for the position was Buttigieg.

“The values that he talks about in his presidential campaign, if you go back, they’re the same values that resonated with me 6 to 8 years ago,” Fowler said.

Tee-J McBride, a lifelong South Bend Resident and manager at downtown’s Linden Grill shares Fowler’s sentiments. He's supporting Buttigieg for president and said he’s seen firsthand the things Buttigieg has done for the city.

“We got the good streets going on downtown and everything like that, they changed the parking," McBride said. “He’s done a lot of things for Linden Grill, he’s helped us get to where we are now.”

Marvin Crayton, however, does not agree with McBride. As a resident of South Bend’s Westside neighborhood since 1964, he stands on Davis’s side saying he doesn’t think Buttigieg has what it takes.

“To me, he hasn’t done us much justice,” Crayton said. “All of the construction and bringing things up to par, has been downtown, it doesn’t extend out here.”

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