We’re Closer To Getting Our First Gay President In 2020
Is America ready for Pete Buttigieg?
The South Bend, Indiana mayor is reportedly preparing for the presidential race in 2020, which would make him the first major presidential candidate who's openly gay.
According to a new Politico profile, Buttigieg’s political action committee is already investing and actively campaigning in states such as Kansas, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, and South Dakota.
Buttigieg, 36, has also been staffing presidential campaign veterans and building key relationships with Democratic party leaders who are very serious about the young mayor's chances at the White House.
"I think it’s telling you that things are kind of wide open in a way that hasn’t been true in a long time," said Buttigieg on Politico's Off Message podcast. “I think it shows that there’s at least curiosity, if not appetite, for what a newer generation of leaders is going to look like."
"Things are going to be different,” he continued. “There was a liberal era in American politics that lasted 30 or 40 years, followed by a conservative era that lasted 30 or 40 years. And now, we’re on the doorstep of a new era.”
Buttigieg spoke last weekend at the March for Our Lives sister rally in South Bend. “I don’t think younger leaders will automatically connect well with younger voters, nor do I think you have to be below a certain age to make sense,” he says. “But I do think that people are looking for something new. They’re looking for something fresh and different.”
Buttigieg announced in December that he had become engaged to his longtime boyfriend, middle school teacher Chasten Glezman.
Born in South Bend, Indiana’s fourth largest city with roughly 100,000 residents, Buttigieg is a Harvard graduate, a Rhodes scholar, and a veteran Naval lieutenant who served in Afghanistan. He was elected mayor in 2011 and, despite governing as a progressive Democrat in a very red state, was reelected for a second term with an overwhelming 78% of the vote.
Buttigieg campaigned last year for Chair of the Democratic National Committee but dropped out ahead of the vote.
The mayor has been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. He was profiled in a 2016 New York Times article titled “The First Gay President?”
“This is one of the most talented young leaders in the Democratic Party,” Obama strategist David Axelrod told the Times. “And he comes from the middle of the country, where the party needs to be strengthened.”
Buttigieg came out publicly as gay in an open letter printed in the South Bend Tribune in 2015, shortly before the Supreme Court's ruling on federal marriage equality, making him Indiana's first openly gay executive and that state's highest elected official to come out.
"We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I’m not used to viewing this as anyone else’s business," Buttigieg wrote in the op-ed. "But it’s clear to me that at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good."
Even before Buttigieg came out, the Washington Post called him “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.”