Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, will not run for a third term in 2019, he announced Monday, clearing the way for a potential 2020 presidential bid.
A gay Rhodes scholar and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Buttigieg -- who often calls himself "Mayor Pete" to avoid his hard-to-pronounce last name (it's "Boota-jidge") -- has spent the last two years elevating his political profile. He launched a campaign for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, attracting admirers nationally, including former DNC chairman Howard Dean. He withdrew on the day of the election as it was clear that most committee members would back eventual winner Tom Perez or Keith Ellison.
Since then, Buttigieg has traveled to Iowa and launched a political action committee. He'll return to Iowa, the home of the first caucuses in the presidential nominating process, on December 20 as one of the headlining speakers at the Progress Iowa annual holiday party.
He admitted on Monday that "I don't think it's a secret" he's weighing his political future, but said, "I won't be making any news about any other political activity on my end before the end of this year."
Buttigieg said at a news conference Monday that he needed to "recognize when it is time to get ready to move on."
"When my present term in office comes to a close a year and two weeks from now, at the end of 2019, I will not be seeking a third term as mayor," he said.
Buttigieg touted "thousands of new jobs created, hundreds of millions of dollars in investment" during his tenure as mayor on Monday, as well as revamping his city's downtown roads and launching a "311" call center designed to provide residents easy access to the city's services.
But, he said, the mayor's office "takes the full energy and concentration of its incumbent."
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