May 2, 2019 6:26 AM EDT

As Pete Buttigieg addressed supporters off a back porch in Marshalltown, Iowa, the Devil was whispering his name. “Pete,” the Devil hissed into a microphone. “You’re sooo smart, Pete.”

Buttigieg ignored the heckler, plowing forward with his stump speech about American decency as his husband ­Chasten looked on. “Pete,” the Devil whispered. “I want the heartland, Pete.”

The man in the devil costume was Randall Terry, an antiabortion activist. He had traveled to Iowa to torment the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., the early breakout star of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. “There’s never been a poster boy for homo­sexuals” before, Terry says. “There’s never been a homosexual that you’d go, ‘Wow, I’d be proud of him.’ He’s the guy. That’s why he’s such a threat.”

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