WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn — His name may be difficult to pronounce, but that hasn't stopped him from quickly becoming the hottest name in the Democratic field of candidates for 2020. Pete Buttigieg announced he's running for president over the weekend and was at Brooklyn Bowl for a fundraiser Monday night.
Buttigieg spoke for about 40 minutes before a packed house. He would be the first openly gay President, as well as the youngest, if elected. Introduced by his husband, the small city mayor from South Bend, Indiana, now has big political dreams.
He is a graduate of Harvard University, was a Rhodes Scholar while attending Oxford and is a veteran of the Afghanistan War, where he was a naval intelligence officer. Now, he is the fresh face some say is stealing the thunder of all the Democrats running. His supporters were certainly energized at the fundraiser.
"One of the things I care about the most is his commitment to climate change because it's his generation and my 22-year-old son's generation who gets the most damaging effect of this if we don't act very quickly," said Tara Langworthy. "He's a completely fresh voice."
The minimum age to run for president is 35. Buttigieg turned 37 in January, but voters say they're not concerned about his age or what critics call his lack of experience.
"He's someone who just exudes an energy and just wants to bring people together and heal the divide," said PJ Simmons.
"I've been watching him and his effectiveness in South Bend, and it's irrefutable and what especially impresses me," said Ilene Reid of Cornwall, NY. "I heard him speak three years ago and he said 'I ask what do people need and I do my best to deliver it."
Buttigieg has been mayor of South Bend for nearly eight years. Among his key issues are climate change and health care. Earlier this month, Buttigieg announced that he’d raised more than $7 million since launching his exploratory committee.