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Mayor Pete Buttigieg: A 'midwestern millennial mayor' to 2020 presidential hopeful

NOW: Mayor Pete Buttigieg: A ’midwestern millennial mayor’ to 2020 presidential hopeful

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Sunday afternoon he would be joining the race for the presidency in 2020. 

The 37-year-old mayor told the crowd of more than 4,500 people inside the Studebaker 84 building that he recognizes the audacity of his run, being a ‘midwestern millennial mayor.’

“My name is Pete Buttigieg, they call me ‘Mayor Pete,’” he said. “I am a proud son of South Bend and I am running for the President of the United States.”

One Pete for America supporter told ABC 57 News that ever since she saw Buttigieg speak she knew that he would be president someday. The crowd on Sunday showed a diversity in race, age, and geography - many coming from all over the country to South Bend just for the announcement. 

“We made it in 27 hours,” said Joseph Leeper, a supporter from Arizona. “I feel like he’d make a good president and I wanted to come here and show my support.”

The mayor’s supporters were out in full force on April 14. According to law enforcement officials, the fire marshal believed the building was at it’s full capacity of 3,500 people less than two hours before the event started at 2 p.m.

Shortly after, reports of people being turned away at the door were confirmed. Supporter Alan Staples said it was no fault to the campaign but it was a ‘mishap.’

“To be turning people away is an issue,” he said. 

Originally, the announcement was supposed to take place in the heart of downtown South Bend. However, inclement weather made the campaign change venues to the old Studebaker building. 

While the speakers were warming up the crowd inside the building, Buttigieg was outside, 15 minutes before his address, speaking to the people who couldn’t get in. He said he was inspired by the people who stuck it out in the cold and rain for him. 

“I see what he’s done in our community,” said Kate Mishler, a supporter living in South Bend.” “And I think if you work together we can accomplish so much.”

There were a couple of protests which took place on Sunday in South Bend. One was organized by the city’s homeless that organizers said sent a message to Buttigieg that he had ‘failed them.’

Buttigieg took the stage at around 2:30 p.m. After announcing his candidacy, he spoke about the freedoms of Americans he’d be campaigning for including equal pay, reproductive rights, national security and education. 

But he also said he would center his campaign around the story of South Bend, using the renovation of the Studebaker building as an example. Buttigieg said the building has grown from being a symbol of decline for South Bend. 

“New jobs are now being created in industries that didn’t even exist when they poured this concrete and laid this brick,” he said. 

He told the crowd the city he has lead for eight years can be a model for other cities and towns.  And Pete for America supporter Joe Luff agreed. 

“This is the symbol,” he said.  “Mayor Pete is taking our past, looking at it and building the future from there.”

Despite Buttigieg’s self-proclaimed audacity to run for the presidency, his supporters said Sunday that too much is at stake for that to stop him. 

“Our country’s been so very divided having a message of inclusion and positivity is what I’m excited about,” Lisa Plencer said. 

According to the City of South Bend, whether he is on the campaign trail or in South Bend that Mayor Buttigieg will continue his duties as Mayor’s along with his strong administrative staff. There have been no plans announced for Buttigieg to take a leave of absence due to this run for the presidency.

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