South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday became the third major candidate to seek the top spot at the Democratic National Committee.
“It’s time for new leadership to deliver the fresh start our party needs,” Buttigieg said in an announcement video shared on Facebook.
Buttigieg emphasised his focus on a laundry list of Democratic priorities, including curtailing “dishonest banking practices, student debt, and politically motivated restrictions on women’s healthcare.”
The announcement highlighted Buttigieg’s personal connection to key issues championed by Democrats, including how the Affordable Care Act allowed Buttigieg’s partner’s mother to afford chemotherapy treatments, as well as his status as a Navy Reserve officer.
“This is personal for me,” Buttigieg said. “I could be ordered back to war by a reckless president.”
The mayor also acknowledged the extensive losses the Democratic party experienced in state and local elections throughout the Obama administration.
“Today, I see our party needing a fresh start as well. Right now, as Democrats, we’re at our lowest level of national, state, and local influence in over a century,” Buttigieg said. “It’s time to make a new plan for our future.”
Buttigieg is the third major candidate to throw his hat in the ring, following outgoing Secretary of Labour Tom Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison.
Ellison has nabbed endorsements from the Democratic Party’s progressive leaders, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Perez is perceived as the pick for many former Obama administration officials. It’s unclear, however, whether Buttigieg has an existing power base within the party to help support his bid. Though he could provide a conduit to disenchanted former Democrats in his native Indiana and surrounding Rust Belt states, he’s relatively unknown outside of media circles and local politics.
Speaking to The New York Times, Buttigieg appeared to take a slight shot at his two opponents, saying it’s “not a time to relitigate an old battle.”
“We’ve got to transcend the narrative that this is some kind of proxy fight,” Buttigieg said.