US: Pete Buttigieg, the young and openly gay Midwest mayor, finds a voice in crowded Democratic presidential field

Pete Buttigieg — the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who is running for president — won’t wear his dress jacket, not when he appears on national television for a town hall meeting, not for photo shoots, not even at a fundraiser here in a Russian-themed bar where he’s mingling with such celebrities as comedian Billy Eichner and Olympic diver Greg Louganis.

“There’s a side controversy over that question,” Buttigieg said in an interview. No less a figure than David Axelrod, the top strategist for the past two winning Democratic presidential campaigns, has been privately urging the 37-year-old to look more grown-up by wearing a jacket on the campaign trail.

“I don’t know,” Buttigieg said, hesitating as if embarrassed by how contrived his next thought might sound. “I just feel more comfortable with my sleeves rolled up.”

The Navy veteran with a hard-to-pronounce name, from a city small enough to fit every resident in a college football stadium, seems to be winning the argument at the moment. Weeks after declaring his interest in challenging President Trump, he has become, if not exactly well-known, a subject of interest for many Democratic voters, buoyed by a breakout performance at a CNN town hall on March 10.

His moment came just days before another youthful candidate, former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas, grabbed the spotlight by announcing his entrance into the race.

Buttigieg downplayed the impact of a rival fresh face joining the fray, joking that he has the “white Episcopalian gay veteran” lane to himself. Read more via Washington Post