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Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker campaigns hiring for faith outreach positions

After what some described as a lackluster effort from Democrats to engage faith-based voters in 2016, some of the party’s 2020 presidential contenders are hiring for positions specifically designed to engage the religious community.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign is looking for a faith engagement director and Sen. Cory A. Booker’s campaign is currently advertising for a “Director of Coalitions: Faith Outreach” position.

The Democratic National Committee also recently brought in the Rev. Derrick Harkins to serve as a new religious outreach director, after he had held a similar position in 2012.

But between 2012 and 2016, the party’s efforts to engage the religious community fell short, said Doug Pagitt, executive director of the group Vote Common Good.

“It was just set aside as not a constituency they’re going to organize around. And that’s pretty amazing,” Mr. Pagitt recently told The Washington Times. “That is clearly not happening now — religious people are out in force.”

Mr. Buttigieg, who is gay, has talked about his sexual orientation in the context of his faith on the campaign trail. Mr. Booker, among other 2020 candidates, has likewise not shied away from his faith.

Social conservative groups, meanwhile, have vowed to ramp up their organization efforts to reelect President Trump, who still enjoys sky-high approval ratings among evangelical Christians.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington, D.C.

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