RENO — One Biggest Little City strip mall may not be big enough for two presidential campaigns.
Until last week, staffers for 2020 Democratic contender Pete Buttigieg and Republican President Donald Trump seemed able to peaceably coexist just a few doors down from one another in a quiet, two-story shopping center at Keystone Avenue and West Fourth Street.
Then, on Friday, a Buttigieg volunteer found an unsigned note printed on Trump campaign letterhead tacked to her car’s windshield.
“We noticed that you decided to park right in front of our office, potentially taking spaces away from those (who) would like a convenient space to visit the Trump office,” the note read. “I saw the Buttigeig (sic) sticker and sign on the back of your car, so we kindly ask that you park in a space that is not right in front of our office.
“I would assume that the Buttigeig (sic) office has more convenient spaces around the corner closer to your entrance upstairs.”
The anonymous letter-writer also provided the Buttigieg volunteer with a Trump 2020 bumper sticker, explaining she could continue to use the contested parking space, but only if she put the sticker on her car.
“If not, and this happens again, I will have to contact the property manager and have them get in touch with you,” the letter concludes.
The Reno Gazette Journal could find no signage designating assigned parking spaces in or around either campaign office.
A spokesman for Trump’s Nevada campaign team did not directly answer questions about whether all office visitors were required to display a pro-Trump sticker on their car.
Paul Selberg, Buttigieg’s Nevada campaign director, accused Team Trump of trying to intimidate those who support a potential future election foe.
“Pete is the best candidate to go up against Donald Trump and win,” Selberg wrote in a statement. “Clearly, the Trump campaign knows that, and is trying to intimidate our volunteers. But just like Pete is not intimidated by Trump, we won’t be either, and we’ll continue to spread Pete’s vision across the state to turn the page on the old ways of Washington and lead this state and our country forward.”
Keith Schipper, a spokesman for Trump’s Nevada re-election campaign, took a lighter approach to the topic.
“We are glad there is still an opportunity for fun and harmless banter between opposing campaigns,” he wrote in a text message to the RGJ.
Trump’s campaign has expressed optimism about the president’s chances of winning the Silver State in November, even after Republicans suffered a shellacking at the polls in 2018’s midterms.
Buttigieg, who was previously mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is considered a top contender in Nevada’s upcoming presidential caucus. Polls suggest he’s the fourth-most popular candidate among likely Democratic caucusgoers.
Nevada’s third-in-the-nation nominating contest is scheduled for Feb. 22.
James DeHaven is the politics reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal. He covers campaigns, the Nevada Legislature and everything in between. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.