Pete Buttigieg speaking at Victory Fund

In a stunning political coup, openly-gay South Bend, IN mayor Pete Buttigieg has shot to third place in a new poll of New Hampshire Democrats.

Buttigieg placed only behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, a shocking showing given Buttigieg’s relative lack of national exposure and youth. The poll, conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center surveyed more than 600 New Hampshire residents, with more than 300 saying they planned to vote in the Democratic primary. Political insiders have long identified the New Hampshire primary–one of the earliest in the nation–as vital to establishing momentum in the coming primary race.

Related: Pete Buttigieg may have just made 2020 frontrunner status with this inspiring speech about being gay

“The emerging dark horse in this race may be Pete Buttigieg,” said the pollster, “who has gone from a virtual unknown to vault to 11% support, trailing only Biden and Sanders and ahead of Warren. His emergence as a factor is driven by a 33-point increase in name recognition, almost all of it favorable. He even carries a slight 16-14 lead over Sanders in vote-rich Merrimack Valley.”

The news comes on the heels of Buttigieg slamming Vice President Mike Pence for his well-known homophobic beliefs. At only 37, Buttigieg has enjoyed a meteoric surge in popularity since announcing his Presidential exploratory committee.  If elected, he would be the youngest President in American history.

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