An enthusiastic crowd came together on Sunday in South Bend, Indiana, as Mayor Pete Buttigieg officially announced his candidacy for president of the United States.
“My name is Pete Buttigieg, they call me Mayor Pete,” said the mayor standing before a crowd of thousands in his hometown. “I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana and I am running for president of the United States.”
In speaking those words, he becomes the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate in the history of the country. Should he make it to the finish line, he will not only be the first openly LGBTQ president, but the youngest person ever elected to the office.
“I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor,” he added, “more than a little bold, at age 37, to seek the highest office in the land.”
The South Bend mayor thanked his husband – “my love, Chasten” – “for giving me the strength to do this and the grounding to be myself as we go.”
The young mayor told the crowd, and the world, that the guiding principles for his campaign are “simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker: freedom, security, and democracy.”
Expanding on the topic of freedom, he shared, “Take it from Chasten and me, you’re not free if the county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry ‘cause of their idea of their political beliefs.”
He also noted that it was just one vote on the Supreme Court that gave him the freedom to marry his husband.
“Our marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on the US Supreme Court,” said Buttigieg. “Nine women and men sat down in a room and took a vote and they brought me the most important freedom in my life.”
His exploratory committee recently announced he had raised over $7 million for his nascent campaign in the first quarter of 2019.
Just a couple of hours after his event on Sunday, his communications director tweeted he’d raised over $1 million in campaign contributions.
Some news: since delivering his announcement speech, our grassroots supporters have invested more than $1m in @PeteButtigieg’s campaign.
C’mon- let’s keep it going for #PeteForAmerica
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) April 14, 2019
Buttigieg, currently serving his second term as mayor of South Bend, is Harvard educated, a Rhodes scholar, an Afghanistan war veteran who speaks seven languages.
In recent weeks, he’s surged from zero support in political surveys to 3rd place in multiple polls.
A Monmouth University poll published this week showed Buttigieg in third place in Iowa with 9% support behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who garnered 27% and 16% respectively.
In New Hampshire, a Saint Anselm College poll put Biden at 23% support, Sanders at 16%, and Buttigieg at 11% support.
And a new national poll by Emerson Polling shows the mayor in 3rd place as well drawing 9% support behind Sanders (29%) and Biden (24%).
Those results put him ahead of more well-known names like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Amy Klobuchar.
What do you think, readers? Are you with Pete? Do you think he can make it to the White House? If not, which candidate has captured your attention?
I look at this image and I just think about the number men and women before us who risked everything, including their lives, so @PeteButtigieg could have this moment with his amazing husband @Chas10Buttigieg . Harvey Milk would be so proud. ❤️❤️🌈🌈 #ProudHomo pic.twitter.com/DATYaxaEir
— Ryan Robison (@ryrobison) April 15, 2019
A candidate for the most powerful job in the world, proudly displaying the love for his husband. A message to every gay kid in America that they can be anything they want to be. Even president. pic.twitter.com/Z13TtQl8ZH
— Benjamin Butterworth (@benjaminbutter) April 14, 2019
In a lifetime of following politics, the only time I have heard as excited a reaction to a campaign as I heard today about @PeteButtigieg’s launch was @BarackObama in 2008 and Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Yes, it’s very early. But the reaction has been remarkable. pic.twitter.com/MGyexI1Og0
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) April 14, 2019
Today was unreal. But what I am even more blown away by is that this morning my husband woke up early, fed the dogs, went to church, came home, and wrote that launch speech by himself. He never fails to amaze me.
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) April 15, 2019