The Slatest

Pete Buttigieg Officially Joins Presidential Race: “They Call Me Mayor Pete”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks as he announces his presidential candidacy for 2020 during an event on Sunday, April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks as he announces his presidential candidacy for 2020 during an event on Sunday, April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana.
JOSHUA LOTT/Getty Images

Although Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, had not exactly kept it a secret that he wanted to pursue the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he made those desires explicit Sunday as he officially announced his candidacy. Barely known at the beginning of the year, Buttigieg has seen a surge of interest from Democratic voters and donors as many have been attracted to the possibility of electing the youngest-ever president and the first who is openly gay. At the rally in his hometown, Buttigieg said he was well aware that his candidacy was more than a little unconventional. “My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg said to cheers from the crowd that had packed a former factory.

“I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor. More than a little bold—at age 37—to seek the highest office in the land,” he said. “But we live in a moment that compels us each to act.” Buttigieg characterized his campaign as the opposite of President Trump and his slogan while using his hometown’s turnaround as an example of what he can accomplisht. “There’s a long way for us to go. Life here is far from perfect. But we’ve changed our trajectory and shown a path forward for communities like ours. And that’s why I’m here today. To tell a different story than ‘Make America Great Again,’” Buttigieg said. “Because there is a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities: the myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back.”

In his speech, Buttigieg characterized his candidacy as more than just a race for the highest office in the land. “The forces of change in our country today are tectonic,” he said. “Forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That’s why, this time, it’s not just about winning an election—it’s about winning an era.”

Buttigieg has managed to raise $7 million in the first three months of the year, which is less than half of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ $18 million but still more than several national figures running for office, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey.