Another day, another Democratic candidate announcement. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (pictured above, right) of South Bend, IN, released a Twitter video announcing the launch of his presidential exploratory committee. If the Afghanistan veteran picks up the Democratic nomination, he would be the first openly gay candidate for a major political party, as NBC News notes. The 37-year-old would also stand to be the youngest president if elected.
Buttigieg (pronounced “BOOT-edge-edge”) emphasizes America’s need for a “fresh start” in his campaign video. The Harvard grad became the youngest mayor of a city with at least 100,000 residents when he was first elected as mayor of South Bend in 2011, and he seems to wield his millennial cred with pride, rather than the usual sheepishness. The clip he shared describes his generation as the one that “lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11” and “the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents unless we do something different.”
Clocking in at just under two minutes, the video doesn’t have much time for specifics, save the vague promise that Buttigieg and other new voices are “walking away from the politics of the past and ready to deliver on our priorities.”
During his first term as mayor, Buttigieg served a seven-month tour of duty in the U.S. Navy Reserves, as per the Sound Bend Voice. He came out as gay in an essay published in the South Bend Tribune in June of 2015, and was re-elected as mayor in November that year with a whopping 80 percent of the vote. Exactly three years after his coming out column was published, Buttigieg married his now-husband, middle school teacher Chasten Glezman. In 2017, Buttigieg made an unsuccessful bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, calling for a rebuilding of the party.
The mayor isn’t a completely unexpected candidate, as Barack Obama name-checked him in a 2016 New Yorker article about future Democratic nominees (the former president also mentioned Kamala Harris, Tim Kaine and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet).
Watch Buttigieg’s video announcement below.