Buttigieg back in political fray after respite for bad cold

Political
Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg listens during a roundtable discussing health equity, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, at the Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A bit hoarse and with an occasional cough, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg returned to the political fray Thursday, resuming a whirlwind schedule after taking a half-day to rest after getting hit with a bad cold.

“Excuse me, I’ve had my own health moment,” Buttigieg said after coughing, prompting chuckles during a panel discussion with black leaders in Greenville, South Carolina, about racial health care disparities.

With a bit more color in his cheeks since stepping away from public campaigning Wednesday, Buttigieg was starting the windup to Saturday’s South Carolina primary. For him, the contest is an important test of his strength in attracting black voters.

In South Carolina, he started by taking questions from community health service leaders and discussing his proposal to roll back decades of racial economic inequality by allocating federal dollars heavily to underserved minority communities.

“This is not about doing anybody a favor,” Buttigieg told the 10 people on either side of him in Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church. “This is about fixing something that was broken on purpose.”

He later campaigned in northern South Carolina at an event that drew hundreds from over the border in North Carolina, a Super Tuesday state.

The illness, first evident during regular bouts of coughing during Tuesday’s debate in Charleston, prompted the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to scrub a day of fundraising in Florida on Wednesday, though aides said the money from the events had already been pledged.

Buttigieg then spent the night in Washington, D.C., where he met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus and sat for televised interviews with stations in March 3 primary states.

Buttigieg has asked supporters to help him raise $13 million to be competitive through Super Tuesday, when 14 states hold primaries. On Thursday, the campaign reported he had met 45% of the goal.

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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