Openly Gay South Bend Mayor Mulls 2020 Presidential Run

With the 2018 midterm elections in the rearview mirror, political pundits can’t wait to start wondering aloud who may run for the Democratic presidential nomination.


Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Rep. Beto O’Rourke are just some of the names being floated.

But how about a 36-year-old openly gay mayor from red-state Indiana?

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, now in his second term, has announced he will not seek a third term at the end of 2019.


We keep hearing how voters want a fresh, young voice and a young, progressive mayor from middle America could certainly fit the bill.


Plus, Buttigieg is an Afghanistan veteran, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar.

Not too shabby.

When Adam Wren of Indianapolis Monthly interviewed the mayor, Wren asked straight up if Buttigieg will run for president.

“I don’t know,” was the response. 


But considering he trades calls with Biden, has been lauded by former President Barack Obama and keeps counsel with Obama’s former strategist, David Axelrod, it’s very possible Buttigieg might be a dark horse challenger to keep your eye on.

“He speaks the language of the heartland,” Axelrod says. “He is a very gifted guy in a very understated way.”

With no significant national profile, Buttigieg knows the odds are against him. But, perhaps, winning isn’t everything, for now.

From Indianapolis Monthly which notes his fondness for carnival “claw games:”



Even if he runs in 2020 and loses the Democratic primary, many see him landing a plum cabinet position. You don’t have to try too hard to imagine the former management consultant running a federal agency like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—or even the vice presidency. Indiana, after all, has produced more of those—six—than any other state except New York, which claims 11. “Any president would benefit from his gifts,” says Axelrod. Buttigieg is seven years younger than John F. Kennedy was when he became president. If he runs and wins, he’d be 39 when he was inaugurated. He has an entire political lifetime to win the plush toy of the presidency. There’s time. But you can tell he hears the electronic carnival music of running for national office getting faster in his head.

(h/t Indianapolis Monthly)

(image via Flickr/Edward Kimmel)

Leave a Comment