Calling him the best candidate “for an era,” former Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw is endorsing Pete Buttigieg for President.
Shaw, a Tampa attorney who became Florida’s first black Attorney General nominee last year, is one of the highest profile African American supporters of the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
“Mayor Pete’s bold, progressive vision of the future, one where every American’s voice is heard clearly and equally, is precisely what this country needs,” Shaw said in a post on Facebook Monday afternoon. “Together, we have to renew our democratic system, secure health care for all, pass common-sense gun safety reforms, and defend civil and equal rights.
“Mayor Pete is the Democratic Party’s best hope to move us forward and win the next era in American politics.”
“He’s the future of not only the party, but where I’d like to see us go with the country,” Shaw told the Miami Herald. “Every time I hear him speak; I love the way he makes me feel about where this country could go.”
Shaw said he will meet Buttigieg for the first time Monday in Miami, and officially give his endorsement during a campaign swing in Wynwood.
Six months ago, Shaw lost to Attorney General Ashley Moody by about a half-million votes, but his support comes as a significant boost to Buttigieg’s efforts to engage with black voters, a group that could play a major role in the 2020 race.
Buttigieg, 37, has regularly polled in the top tier of candidates in an increasingly crowded race of nearly two dozen Democrats. But the Miami Herald reports a new Change Research poll found Buttigieg at 0 percent with African American voters in South Carolina, a critical primary state.
And as the first openly gay nominee for President, Buttigieg is also struggling with socially conservative Democrats.
“There’s resistance to stuff that’s new until there’s not. So, you just got to keep plugging away at it and keep addressing issues of concerns to the Democratic primary voters, and he’ll be fine,” Shaw told the Herald. “He’s trying to put wheels on a moving car.”
While Shaw may not have much pull with South Carolina voters, endorsing Buttigieg will help the candidate gain the trust of black voters.
Shaw, 41, a former state insurance advocate and Democratic state lawmaker, decided against re-election to become the first black major-party nominee for Attorney General. His father, Leander Shaw Jr., was the first black chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
Sean Shaw currently hosts a radio show in the Tampa region, and is a founder of the advocacy group People Over Profits.