Importantville: Buttigieg Announces 2020 Bid

Illustration by Kris Davidson

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, standing in the old Studebaker Building 84 in his hometown, announced his presidential candidacy Sunday, calling for a “new American spring.”

“I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States,” the mayor of the state’s fourth largest city said, capping an improbable rise.

Nine years to the month since launching his unsuccessful state treasurer bid here, Buttigieg announced his presidential campaign in the same city.

“Don’t we live in a country that can overcome the bleakness of this moment?” Buttigieg said. “Are you ready to turn the page and write a new chapter in the American story. If you and I rise together to meet this moment, one day they will write histories, not just about one campaign or one presidency but about the era that began here today in this building where past, present, and future meet, right here this chilly day in South Bend.”

The moment marks a stunning 81 days for the mayor, who announced his exploratory committee on January 23.

GOP Frames Buttigieg

RNC Spokesperson Michael Joyce:

Pete Buttigieg is a did-nothing Mayor who puts a mild-mannered face on an extreme socialist agenda that supports infanticide, impeaching President Trump, government-run healthcare, court packing, and the Green New Deal. Meanwhile, the Trump-Pence agenda has manufacturing jobs coming back to the US in President Trump’s booming economy, which means Buttigieg will be making his way into the New York Times crossword puzzle instead of the Oval Office in 2020.”

Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party Kyle Hupfer:

The fact is Pete Buttigieg has only proven he can get elected in a blue city in a red state. The only reason he is running for president is because he hasn’t been able to secure any other job he has sought and there is no path for him to win statewide in Indiana.”

Buttigieg has never captured more than 10,991 votes in a single successful race for office. Candidates for student body president on some college campuses get more votes than that.

Hoosier Politicos Spotted: Former Sen. Joe Donnelly; Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett; IN Dems Chairman John Zody; Donnelly campaign manager Peter Hanscom; Hogsett for Indianapolis spokesperson Heather Sager.

Importantville Reads

Me, POLITICO Magazine: “How Mayor Pete Started to Look Presidential

Just a couple of months ago, when he announced his exploratory committee, Buttigieg was a virtual unknown with a puzzling last name and a lane to the presidency that most pundits considered notional at best. His husband Chasten, not yet a social media phenom, was sometimes mistaken as a staffer on the Iowa hustings. In his first visits to New Hampshire he could reliably fill somebody’s living room. Today he’s getting stopped by fans in airports—though they sometimes mistake him for a reporter, he jokes, since he’s on cable news so frequently—and he has a dedicated pack of national and international reporters following him, a byproduct of those well-received TV interviews. He passed the 65,000 individual donors threshold required to make the first Democratic debate in June. This week, two polls in New Hampshire and Iowa placed him in third behind Bernie Sanders and still-undeclared Joe Biden. Unique among the 2020 field of more than a dozenzero and one-percenter candidates, Buttigieg has vaulted into the pack’s top 10 alongside Cory Booker, O’Rourke, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Not only is he outpolling some of them, in the first quarter of 2019 he raised more money than many of them.

Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine: “Wonder Boy

Sick of old people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Scared of young people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Religious? He’s a Christian. Atheist? He’s not weird about it. Wary of Washington? He’s from flyover country. Horrified by flyover country? He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Make the President Read Again? He learned Norwegian to read Erlend Loe. Traditional? He’s married. Woke? He’s gay. Way behind the rest of the country on that? He’s not too gay. Worried about socialism? He’s a technocratic capitalist. Worried about technocratic capitalists? He’s got a whole theory about how our system of “democratic capitalism” has to be a whole lot more “democratic.” If you squint hard enough to not see color, some people say, you can almost see Obama the inspiring professor. Oh, and he’s the son of an immigrant, a Navy vet, speaks seven foreign languages (in addition to Norwegian, Arabic, Spanish, Maltese, Dari, French, and Italian), owns two rescue dogs, and plays the goddamn piano. He’s actually terrifying. What mother wouldn’t love this guy?

Staff reports: South Bend Tribune: “Pete Buttigieg legacy: Is South Bend really a ‘turnaround city’?

The bold proclamations open the door to natural questions: Can cities be “miraculously” revived by mayors? How do you measure that?

Is South Bend really a turnaround city?

Some national media outlets have begun to pick at those questions. The answers are not always easy or clear. Indeed, any mayor’s legacy will be filled with successes and failures. And the analysis can be colored — or distorted — by political leanings and personal experiences.

Days until Indiana General Assembly Sine Die: 13

Days until the Indy 500: 41

Days until the 2019 election: 204

Days until the 2020 election: 575