Pete Buttigieg Suspends Presidential Campaign

The out politician made history as the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate.

Pete Buttigieg, who made history as the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate, is suspending his 2020 presidential campaign, The New York Times is reporting.

The 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has “decided to quit the Democratic race,” someone briefed on Buttigieg’s campaign plans told the news outlet Sunday evening.

Buttigieg narrowly won the Iowa caucus in February, picking up 14 national delegates to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 12. He came in second place in New Hampshire, a distant third in the Nevada caucuses, and fourth in last night’s South Carolina primary, where he won “just 3%” of black voters, according to exit polls.

Born in South Bend—Indiana’s fourth largest city with roughly 100,000 residents—Buttigieg is a Harvard graduate, a Rhodes scholar, and a veteran Naval lieutenant who served in Afghanistan. He was elected mayor of South Bend in 2011 and, despite governing as a progressive Democrat in a very red state, was re-elected for a second term.

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Buttigieg officially announced his run for president in April 2019. As NewNowNext reported, at the top of his announcement speech, he thanked his husband, “my love” Chasten, “for giving me the strength to do this and the grounding to be myself as we go.”

“The principles that will guide my campaign for president are simple enough to fit on a bumper sticker: freedom, security, and democracy,” he continued. Expounding on the concept of freedom, he remarked, “And take it from Chasten and me, you’re not free if the county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry because of their idea of their political beliefs.”

After winning in Iowa, Buttigieg got emotional during a speech telling the crowd his win “validates the idea that we can expand. A coalition not only unified around who it is we’re against but around what it is that we’re for.”

“And it validates for a kid somewhere in a community,” he continued, briefly choking up. “Wondering if he belongs, or she belongs, or they belong, in their own family, that if you believe in yourself, and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief.”

Pete Buttigieg, Chasten Buttigieg
Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Update: Find Buttigieg’s official campaign suspension statement in full below.

I joined this race in the belief that becoming the Democratic nominee was the best way for me to ensure that we defeat Donald Trump and usher in a new kind of politics defined by bringing people together.

At this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and with the ideals our campaign has been built around is to step aside and help bring our party and our country together. So tonight I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency.

I will no longer seek to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president. But I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure that we have a Democratic president come January.

I cannot express how grateful I am for you. How grateful I am for every supporter, every volunteer, and every staffer who believed in what we were building.

So many of you dug deep to fuel this campaign, joining nearly a million grassroots donors so that this message of hope and belonging could reach every corner of this country.

Online, in person, with family and friends and complete strangers, you shared your personal stories, and you made the life of this campaign part of your own.

What you did—and the way you did it—let us show, not just tell, the kind of campaign we could be and the kind of country we will build. You made me proud every day.

In a field in which some two dozen Democratic candidates ran for president—billionaires, sitting senators, and governors, a former vice president—we achieved a top-four finish in each of the first four states to hold early contests and made history winning those Iowa caucuses.

That we made it here at all is proof that Americans are hungry for a new kind of politics, rooted in the values we share.

In a moment of deep division, we saw a rising American majority of Democrats, joined by Independents, and, yes, some of those future former Republicans, choose a politics defined not by who we push out, but by how many we call in; not by who we exclude, but by how we help people belong.

With every passing day, I am more and more convinced that the only way we will defeat Trump and Trumpism is with that politics that gathers people together.

And I urge everyone who supported me or ever even considered it, to be prepared to do everything we can to support the eventual nominee—and the absolutely critical down-ballot races playing out across the country. There is simply too much at stake to retreat to the sidelines.

I know many will be disappointed that this campaign will not go on. I know it’s easy to get frustrated with politics, especially at this moment.

But this is the moment of all moments to insist that we make our politics what it could be. As I’ve said before—at its best, politics can be magnificent. Because it’s not just about policy, it is soulcraft. And it is moral.

And we don’t have to win the nomination to be part of that. I don’t have to become the president in order to support that. We don’t have to win Super Tuesday for my campaign to do our part to win the era for our values.

And we walk on in the knowledge that better leadership is possible. That if we reach for it, if we work for it, if we hold that hope in our hearts and fire in our bellies, then one day we will stand in the future we create, a future where every American is empowered and everyone belongs.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
@chrisreindeer