Pete Buttigieg fast facts: 5 things to know about the South Bend mayor running for president

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Despite being a Washington, D.C., outsider, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg formally announced he would be running for president in April.

The 2020 hopeful — nicknamed “Mayor Pete” — had been exploring a White House run since January and mentioned both his progressive values and Midwestern upbringing in his announcement speech.

“[The future] calls for hopeful, audacious voices in our community,” Buttigieg said at the time. “And, yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership in this country.”

Pete Buttigieg will join Fox News Channel for a Town Hall moderated by Chris Wallace on Sunday, May 19, at 7 p.m. ET in Claremont, New Hampshire.

Even before his formal presidential announcement, Buttigieg revealed his campaign had raised more than $7 million from January through March — though that number was eclipsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ $18 million.

If the 37-year-old mayor did become president, he would be breaking a number of records for the office.


He would be the first openly gay president, the first mayor to go directly to the White House and he would be the youngest person to become president, turning 39 the day before the next inauguration, on Jan. 20, 2021. Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he took office, while John F. Kennedy was 43 and Bill Clinton 46.

In March, the millennial mayor explained to Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that despite his age, he has plenty of experience.

"I know I'm the young face in this conversation, but not only do I have more years of government experience under my belt than the president, but I've got more years of executive government experience under my belt than the vice president," Buttigieg said.

On Sunday, Mayor Pete will speak again with Wallace in a Fox News town hall. Here are five things to know about Buttigieg ahead of the event.

His unique surname is common on the island of Malta

Mayor Pete’s late father, Joseph Buttigieg, was born on the Mediterranean island of Malta, where the name Buttigieg is common, the mayor wrote in a 2016 Medium post. Joseph Buttigieg — who died in January, according to the South Bend Tribune — moved to the U.S. in the 1970s.

In part, the name means “poultry,” according to MaltaToday, and its pronunciation has been frequently questioned during Buttigieg’s campaign.

New York Magazine's The Cut wrote an article in March solely on his name. Buttigieg is even selling campaign swag with the label "Boot Edge Edge" to make things easier for constituents.

The mayor’s husband, Chasten, also gave supporters some "options" when it comes to pronouncing their surname.

"Boot-edge-edge or Buddha-judge or Boot-a-judge or Boo-tuh-judge," he wrote in a Dec. 17 tweet, which received hundreds of likes.

He has eclectic talents, skills and accomplishments

Buttigieg can speak up seven languages, according to Axios, including French, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari and Norwegian, which he reportedly taught himself. He also plays piano — having sat in with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra — and electric guitar.

As a senior in high school in 2000, Buttigieg won the National John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest, where he praised Congressman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for identifying as a socialist.

Buttigieg then attended Harvard and was the student president at the university’s Institute of Politics, a highly sought-after role, according to the National Review. The outlet also reported Buttigieg was a board member of the Harvard College Democrats. After graduating in 2005, he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

Earlier this year, Buttigieg released a memoir called “Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future.”

He worked with Vice President Mike Pence when Pence was Indiana’s governor

Though Pete Buttigieg and Mike Pence worked together in Indiana, they have since had a public dispute, after Buttigieg criticized the vice president for his belief that homosexuality is a choice.<br data-cke-eol="1">
(Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

Though Pete Buttigieg and Mike Pence worked together in Indiana, they have since had a public dispute, after Buttigieg criticized the vice president for his belief that homosexuality is a choice.<br data-cke-eol="1"> (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend, Ind., in 2011 at the age of 29. Mike Pence was elected as the state’s governor in 2013 and served until 2017 when he began serving as vice president under Trump.

Though the two worked together, they have since had a public dispute. Buttigieg criticized the vice president's views on homosexuality.

Buttigieg discussed his sexual orientation during an event hosted by the LGBTQ Victory Fund in early April, saying: "If me being gay was a choice, it was made far, far above my pay grade ... That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pence’s of the world would understand – that if you got a problem with who I am – your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir, is with my creator."

Pence later told CNBC: "He said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally. And he knows better. He knows me. But I get it. You know, it’s – look, again, 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the left. And they’re all competing with one another for how much more liberal they are."

Pence's wife, Karen, told The Brian Kilmeade Show on Fox News Radio that her husband and Buttigieg had "always had a good relationship," adding: "I think it’s helping Pete to get some notoriety by saying that about the vice president."

He came out as gay in 2015 in an op-ed

As the mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg came out publicly in an op-ed for the local paper, the South Bend Tribune.

“I was well into adulthood before I was prepared to acknowledge the simple fact that I am gay. It took years of struggle and growth for me to recognize that it’s just a fact of life, like having brown hair, and part of who I am,” he wrote in June 2015.

In August of that year, he met his now-husband Chasten Glezman on the dating app Hinge, according to The New York Times. Buttigieg married Glezman in June 2018.

Glezman, who’s on leave from his job as a teacher as he helps his husband’s presidential campaign, has quickly become a star of his own on social media. He’s now up to more than 300,000 followers on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Glezman revealed on Twitter that Buttigieg is a Hufflepuff from the “Harry Potter” franchise after Glezman had his husband take the Pottermore quiz.

He served in the military and was deployed to Afghanistan

In 2009, Buttigieg joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer.

He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, which required him to take a leave of absence from his position as South Bend’s mayor for seven months. He continued to serve as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve until 2017. According to his campaign website, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work.

Buttigieg has touted his military experience, saying on his website he has "more military experience than anybody to walk into the Oval Office since President George H. W. Bush."

According to PolitiFact, Buttigieg’s claim is accurate because President Trump, former President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton did not serve in the military.

Even in comparison to former President George W. Bush, Buttigieg has more experience, the organization reported, because even though the former president served in the Texas Air National Guard from 1968 to 1973, he was never deployed.

Buttigieg served a longer term — 8 years as opposed to 5 years — and saw active duty.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Jennifer Earl, Paul Steinhauser, Samuel Chamberlain and Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.