Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire has endorsed Pete Buttigieg for president, giving the former mayor a significant endorsement weeks before her state’s first-in-the-nation primary.
Kuster, who will also be a co-chair of Buttigieg’s campaign, is the first member of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to endorse in the 2020 Democratic primary.
“With our country so consumed by division, @PeteButtigieg is the leader who can finally turn the page on the Trump presidency and bring our nation together,” Kuster tweeted Wednesday. “He has the courage to break from the past to lead us to a better future — I’m excited to endorse him to be our next president.”
The congresswoman will officially back the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor at an event in Concord, New Hampshire, on Friday.
Buttigieg praised Kuster in a statement released Wednesday.
“From working to tackle the opioid epidemic and increasing access to health care to honoring our pledge to our veterans and their families when they return home, Rep. Kuster has spent her career delivering results for New Hampshire families,” Buttigieg said. “At a time of so much dysfunction in Washington, Rep. Kuster has brought Americans together to improve the lives of her constituents. She represents the best of our politics and I’m honored to have her serve as our co-chair.”
Buttigieg and Kuster campaigned together twice in 2019, once in New London in October, where they unveiled Buttigieg’s women’s agenda, and the other time in November in Claremont.
Kuster touted Buttigieg’s “Medicare for all who want it” health care plan during the October event. The middle-of-the-road approach would offer a public option for people who choose to enroll. It runs counter to “Medicare for All,” a more sweeping liberal proposal that would create a single-payer health care system.
“When it comes to health care, I’m pro-choice,” Kuster said at the time, sitting next to Buttigieg.
The endorsement comes less than a month before voters in New Hampshire head to the polls in the second nominating contest in the primary process, after Iowa’s caucuses.
A Monmouth University poll released earlier this month found Buttigieg as one of the top-tier candidates in New Hampshire, polling at 20%, while former Vice President Joe Biden came in at 19%, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 18% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 15%. The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
Kuster is Buttigieg’s sixth congressional endorsement. Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa backed the former mayor on Sunday. Earlier this month, Rep. Anthony Brown of Maryland became the first Congressional Black Caucus member to endorse Buttigieg. Retiring Rep. Pete Visclosky of Indiana, along with Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, backed Buttigieg in November 2019. And Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia endorsed the former mayor in April 2019.