Youngest and first openly gay POTUS? Obscure Dem aims for both
He has been praised by Barack Obama as one of the gifted young Democrats
Pete Buttigieg, a little-known 37-year-old mayor, has become the latest Democrat to join the race to become US president in 2020, declaring America needs a “new generation” of leaders. Buttigieg, seen as a rank outsider, would become the country’s first openly gay president if he managed to win his party’s nomination and defeat Donald Trump.
The two-term mayor of South Bend, a city of 100,000 people in Indiana, was named by Barack Obama on a list of gifted young Democrats in an interview published in November 2016.
In a short speech and campaign advert on Wednesday, Buttigieg framed the White House bid around his youth as he called for a clean break with the leaders of the past. “The case here is simple – that it’s time for a new generation of leadership in our country,” he said.
The message was hammered home in a campaign advert in which he said: “I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now. We are the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11. And we’re the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents unless we do something different.”
Buttigieg is a Harvard University graduate, Rhodes scholar and former McKinsey consultant who has held no national political office.
He turned 37 on Saturday – just two years older than the minimum age to run for president, dictated by the US constitution – and would be the youngest ever Oval Office occupant if elected.
During his stint as mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg served with the naval reserve in Afghanistan and came out as gay.
He lives with his husband, Chasten Glezman, and two rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.
“I have served my city as a mayor, I’ve served our country as a military officer, and now I’m ready for a new way to serve the American people,” Buttigieg said during his campaign launch.
He also referenced his inexperience: “We’ve put together a terrific team. We are not going to be the most established, we are not going to be the most well-funded. I’m obviously not stepping on to this stage as the most famous person in this conversation.
“But I belong to a party whose characteristic has always been to look for fresh voices, new leadership and big ideas and I think that’s what 2020 is going to be about.”
Buttigieg’s entry into the Democratic race for the presidential nomination means that eight candidates have now stepped forward to declare their intention to run.
– © The Daily Telegraph