Washington, April 15 (IANS) Democrat Pete Buttigieg, who is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and is also openly gay, has announced that he was running for President in 2020 and proclaimed his hometowns revival was the answer to sceptics who ask how he has the “audacity” to see himself in the White House.
“My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg said to cheers at rally in South Bend on Sunday inside a partly rebuilt factory once owned by the automaker Studebaker.
“I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States.”
He added: “I ran for mayor in 2011 knowing nothing like Studebaker would ever come back, but that we would, our city would, if we had the courage to reimagine our future.”
If elected, Buttigieg, a 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, would represent a series of historic firsts: the youngest President ever and the first who is openly gay, reports The New York Times.
He said he was motivated to run despite his youth because of an urgency to correct the course of President Donald Trump administration on climate change, health care and immigration.
“I recognise the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern, millennial mayor, but we live in a moment that compels us each to act… It calls for a new generation of leadership.
He also invoked his marriage to his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, as one of the blessings of American freedom, but one that feels fragile in the current climate.
“Our marriage exists by the grace of a single vote on the US Supreme Court… Nine men and women sat down in a room and took a vote, and they brought me the most important freedom in my life.”
Though Buttigieg is a political progressive, his main message is the claim to leadership of millennial Americans, those he says will be on “the business end” of climate change, who grew up with school shootings and who supplied most of the troops in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The South Bend Mayor is the fastest-rising Democratic candidate in the crowded presidential field and his decision to exit the lengthy exploratory portion of his 2020 bid comes at a time when a series of polls have shown Buttigieg to be firmly among candidates like Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, CNN said.
His recent star power showed through in a flurry of donations after his announcement, with supporters contributing more than $1 million to Buttigieg’s campaign in the four hours following his speech Sunday, his campaign communications adviser Lis Smith tweeted.
Also on Sunday, Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell formally launched his 2020 presidential run in his hometown of Dublin, California, promising to centre his campaign on gun control inspired by the Parkland shooting.
Swalwell also promised to be a “different” kind of candidate in a crowded Democrat field with more established stars, vowing that his campaign would not accept donations from corporate political action committees.