2020 Democratic Primary Candidates: Pete Buttigieg By Luke Perry
Pete Buttigieg declared his candidacy for president on January 23, 2018 (video of announcement here). Buttigieg, a native Midwesterner, is Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and won reelection in November of 2015 with over 80 percent of the vote. . Buttigieg unsuccessfully ran for state treasurer in 2010 and chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017.
Buttigieg is a Rhodes Scholar, Harvard alum, and veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He is the first openly gay presidential candidate and 37 years old, making him the youngest candidate in the field, and potentially the first millennial president.
Buttigieg traveled to key primary states in recent months “presenting himself as a fresh face and next-generation candidate who could offer a contrast to President Trump, who is more than three decades his senior.” The Mayor of a Rust Belt city, Buttigieg is “positioning himself as an energetic problem solver who’s working to help rural voters who flocked to Trump in 2016.”
Buttigieg’s brief campaign announcement “was light on specifics” broadly discussing “consumer protections, racial and social justice, cyber- and other security threats, climate change and freedom from interference by hostile foreign powers as some of the problems for which he would seek solutions.” Buttigieg acknowledged lacking the national profile of other candidates, and rejected the suggestion he was running to elevate his chances of being a Cabinet member or running mate, instead seeking to blend hope and realism in assessing a path to victory.
“Pete has the background and profile to do well in Iowa,” said a top Obama-campaign alum, who spoke on background. Iowa is the first state to participate in the 2020 primary on February 3. “It will be a very crowded field, but caucus-goers will want to hear his vision for the country and give him a shot. South Bend isn’t that different from cities in eastern Iowa, too.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College