WASHINGTON — Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat who is the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has waded into the 2020 presidential race, announcing Wednesday that he is launching an exploratory committee.
Buttigieg (pronounced BOOT-edge-edge), 37, released a video calling for a “fresh start” and touting his progress to economically revitalize his city.
I launched a presidential exploratory committee because it is a season for boldness and it is time to focus on the future. Are you ready to walk away from the politics of the past?
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 23, 2019
By launching an exploratory committee, Buttigieg will be permitted to raise money in preparation of an eventual campaign.
He is widely viewed as a rising star in Democratic politics, but cast himself Wednesday as an underdog.
“We’re not going to be the most established, we’re not going to be the most well-funded, I’m obviously not stepping onto this stage as the most famous person in this conversation,” Buttigieg said during a press conference following his announcement. “But I belong to a party whose characteristic has always been to look for fresh voices, new leadership and big ideas, and I think that’s what 2020 is going to be about.”
The mayor, an openly gay man who served in the Navy during the war in Afghanistan, unsuccessfully vied for the position as Democratic party chair in 2017.
He has been South Bend’s mayor since 2012, garnering the national nickname “Mayor Pete,” but announced last December that he would not seek a third term.
Buttigieg joins a growing Democratic field of candidates that includes Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii); former Congressman John Delaney (Md.), and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
Prospective candidates are said to include former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Cory Booker (N.J.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas).