Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced Wednesday that he is forming an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States.
Buttigieg is only 37 years old, and has never held statewide office, let alone federal office, losing a race for state treasurer in 2010. He also dropped out of the 2017 race for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
However, he is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, thanks to his sterling résumé and the fact that he is openly gay, having married his husband last year. He is seen as part of his party’s “progressive” wing and has attracted interest from young activists and Silicon Valley donors.
Buttigieg graduated from Harvard University, and from Oxford University in the UK as a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the U.S. Navy Reserve and deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence officer. He is still in the Navy Reserve.
His record as mayor of South Bend — a college town with a population of barely 100,000 people — is a checkered one. Republicans were circulating local newspaper articles on Wednesday morning documenting the city’s potholes and high crime rate. One local columnist said in 2018 that South Bend’s potholes “might be [the] worst in recent memory,” and FBI statistics reported that the city fell into the top 20 most violent cities in the U.S. last year.
Buttigieg’s announcement, nevertheless, will attract a spotlight — however fleeting — that could promote his national name recognition and set him up to join a presidential cabinet in the next Democratic administration — whenever that might be.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.