CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is exploring a possible run for president in 2020, which would make him the first millennial candidate for the White House.
If Buttigieg were to win the Democratic primary, the 37-year-old also would be the first openly gay nominee for president from a major party.
“Right now our country needs a fresh start,” Buttigieg said in an announcement video posted online. “I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now. We’re the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11, and we’re the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents unless we do something different. We can’t just polish off a system so broken. It is a season for boldness and a focus on the future.”
Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend in 2011 at the age of 29, making him the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with a population of at least 100,000.
“When I arrived in office at the beginning of this decade, the national press said that our city was dying. People on the outside didn’t believe our city had a future,” Buttigieg said. “We propelled our city’s comeback by taking our eyes off the rearview mirror, being honest about change, and insisting on a better future.”
A Rhodes scholar, he also is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and served a tour in Afghanistan in 2014.
Buttigieg raised his national profile with an unsuccessful 2017 run for Democratic National Committee chairman. He said the party needed a new start. He withdrew from the race before a vote when it became clear he didn’t have the support to win.
Buttigieg has spent time in Iowa and other battleground states in recent years as he tried to build financial support and name recognition. He cracks that those who do know his name still aren’t sure how to pronounce it. (It’s BOO’-tah-juhj.) Most of the time he goes by “Mayor Pete.”
Amid his campaign for a second term, Buttigieg came out as gay in a column in the local newspaper. He went on to win re-election with 80 percent of the vote. In 2018, three years to the day after the column ran, he married his husband, middle school teacher Chasten Glezman.
Buttigieg announced in December that he wouldn’t seek a third term as mayor, stoking speculation he would join a field of roughly two dozen candidates who may seek the Democratic nomination for president — most of them better known and with experience in higher office, and all of them older.
In February, Buttigieg is releasing a book about his life and his tenure leading South Bend.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)