Pete Buttigieg officially announces his presidential bid

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg declared his presidential candidacy official on Sunday

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 14, 2019 1:30PM (EDT)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

Update: Pete Buttigieg officially announced that he is running for president on Sunday afternoon, telling his audience that "you and I have the chance to usher in a new American spring. So with hope in our hearts and with fire in our bellies, let’s get to work and let’s make history," according to The Hill.

Watch his speech, courtesy of PBS:

Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is expected to announce that he is running for president in 2020.

Buttigieg is expected to make his announcement in South Bend, according to the Associated Press. No American president has ever been elected directly from a mayoralty, which would be one of several precedents that Buttigieg would break if the Democrats nominate him and he defeats President Donald Trump in 2020. He would also be America's youngest president (39 years old as of January 20, 2021, when he'd be inaugurated) and America's first openly gay president.

There are early signs that Buttigieg's candidacy could take off. He has already raised more than $7 million since the start of 2019, a figure larger than the sums raised by three candidates who by virtue of being United States Senators would traditionally be considered more credible — Cory Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. In a Monmouth University survey released last week of likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, Buttigieg placed third with 9 percent of the support of those who say they will likely attend Iowa's nominating event in February 2020. He was surpassed only by former Vice President Joe Biden, who had 27 percent of the support but has not yet announced a run, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who landed at 16 percent of the vote. He also outpolled Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, both of whom received 7 percent; former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who received 6 percent; Klobuchar at 4 percent and Booker at 3 percent.

"Buttigieg's current standing in the horse race is impressive given that nearly half of likely Democratic caucusgoers have yet to form an opinion of him. He has one of the best positive to negative ratios in the field. He could move up if he is able to maintain that rating as he introduces himself to more voters," Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, explained when analyzing his results.

Buttigieg has impressed many people with his resume, including being a Rhodes Scholar and a veteran of the Afghanistan War, as well as his ability to speak in a frank and vulnerable way about his experiences dealing with intolerance as a gay man.

"It’s hard to face the truth that there were times in my life when, if you had shown me exactly what it was inside me that made me gay, I would have cut it out with a knife. If you had offered me a pill to make me straight, I would’ve swallowed it before you had time to give me a sip of water," Buttigieg said in a speech earlier this month at an LGBTQ Victory Fund event.

He added, in a swipe at the infamously anti-LGBT Vice President Mike Pence, "That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Buttigieg's unexpected rise to the forefront of Democratic presidential contenders can in many ways be attributed to the changing dynamics of American politics.

"He broke into the top tier because his generation is used to giving money on the internet to advance social causes and candidates they believe in. He thinks clearly, is not particularly ideological; open to new ideas. The fact that he is gay and married and running for president is a huge signal to his generation and below that he gets it," Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who endorsed Buttigieg's attempt to be elected as chairman in 2017, told Politico last week.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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