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Who is Pete Buttigieg? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate
Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson June 17, 2019


Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to

Unlike most presidential candidates in recent history, Pete Buttigieg has not served in Congress, as a governor or as a vice president. Rather, since 2012, he’s been the mayor of South Bend, Ind., a city of just under 102,000 people. Buttigieg has broken the mold in other ways, too: He’s just 38 years old, and he’s the first major openly gay presidential candidate. Yet his outlook is something of a throwback: Buttigieg has styled himself as a plainspoken, pragmatic candidate from the Midwest.

Leveraging his youth, Buttigieg’s presidential campaign website says he "belongs to the generation that came of age with school shootings, the generation that provided the majority of the troops in the conflicts after 9/11, the generation that is on the business end of climate change, and the generation that — unless we take action — stands to be the first to be worse off economically than their parents."

A South Bend native, Buttigieg earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and won a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009 to 2017, including a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2014.

He worked on the 2004 presidential campaign of Democratic Sen. John Kerry and later for the international consulting firm McKinsey & Co., before winning the mayor’s office at age 29.

Political observers in Indiana told PolitiFact that Buttigieg’s tenure as mayor has been successful in boosting development and quality of life in a city that has experienced some economic challenges. He got the city behind redevelopments of several disused buildings downtown, a nearby Native American casino, and a neighborhood around a minor-league ballpark. He also oversaw changes to traffic flow that improved the experience for pedestrians and storefront businesses.

Buttigieg raised his national profile in 2017 when he made an unsuccessful run for chair of the Democratic National Committee. Buttigieg, who came out as gay in 2015, married Chasten Glezman, in 2018.

Name: Pete Buttigieg

Current occupation: Mayor of South Bend, Ind.

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: None

Key votes: Has not served in Congress.

State and local offices: Mayor of South Bend, Ind., 2012-present

Private sector work: Worked for the Cohen Group, a Washington-based consulting group; for the 2004 presidential campaign of Democratic Sen. John Kerry; and as a consultant for McKinsey & Co.

Military: U.S. Navy Reserve, 2009-2017, rank of lieutenant

Books authored: "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future" (2019)

Education: Harvard University, B.A.; Oxford University (Rhodes Scholar)

Birth date: Jan. 19, 1982

Personal life: Chasten (husband)

Religion: Christian

Top issues: Health care, education, social policy

Endorsements: Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.; Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler; former Democratic National Committee chair Steven Grossman.

Major donors: In the first few months of his campaign, donations to Buttigieg were running about two-thirds small-dollar donations (under $200) and about one-third large-dollar donations (above $200). Buttigieg reported more than $7 million in donations from individuals in the first quarter of 2019.

Miscellaneous: First major LGBTQ candidate for president; plays piano and guitar and has performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra; speaks Norwegian, Spanish, French, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, and Dari, with varying degrees of fluency.

Other coverage: PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter, New Yorker, "Pete Buttigieg’s Quiet Rebellion," Feb. 9, 2019; Indianapolis Star, "Pete Buttigieg says he’s mayor of a turnaround city. Here’s how that claim stands up," March 21, 2019 ; New York magazine, "Boy Wonder," April 14, 2019; Indianapolis Star, "Pete Buttigieg has now released official positions on 27 topics. Here's what we know," May 16, 2019

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Who is Pete Buttigieg? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate