Is Mayor Pete trading the mayor's office for the Oval Office?
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Right now the national media is touting Mayor Pete Buttigieg as a possible presidential contender in 2020 after announcing he won't seek a third term as South Bend Mayor.
"I know now that the time has come for me to prepare this city for new leadership once again," said Buttigeg.
With that announcement Buttigieg prepares to leave the office he's called home for almost 8 years -- presiding over some of the biggest changes the city has seen in decades. The question now is will Buttigieg attempt to trade the mayor's office for the oval office?
"I don't think that it's a secret that we're looking into things and will continue to do so going into the New Year," said Buttigieg.
As far as any final decisions go-- don't expect those until after the new year.
His travel plans this weekend to Iowa could give some clues. The mayor is set to headline the annual Progress Iowa holiday party in Des Moines, Iowa this Thursday. The all important Iowa caucuses are the first major contest in the United States Presidential primary season.
But could the mayor of a rust belt Midwest city with just over 100,000 people make the leap to Commander in Chief? It was those rust belt cities and Midwest states that helped carry Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016.
Buttigieg has told a different narrative of those places than the president . Instead of focusing on what's been lost -- he's focused on what could be.
He took that message to the national stage during his bid to take over as chair of the Democratic National Committee two years ago.
"I'm Pete Buttigieg and I'm the Mayor here in South Bend, Indiana. I got elected twice, because we had an honest conversation about our hometown," said Buttigieg in his video announcing his run for DNC chair. "We faced the fact that our industrial economy was changing forever and we found new ways for families to get ahead."
Buttigieg promised to bring that fresh start he helped give South Bend to the Democratic Party.
"It's time for new leadership to deliver the fresh start that our party needs," said Buttigieg. "So much depends on getting this right. "
Despite his failed bid, the attention surrounding the man known simply as Mayor Pete only grew. Articles in the Washington Post, New York times, Politico and Rolling Stone all asking the same question -- could he become the next president?
His resume may not carry the political experience one would expect as a president, but as a Harvard graduate, Rhoades Scholar, Afghanistan veteran and two term mayor he certainly carries some weight. Now with millenials turning out huge in the 2018 midterms -- the prospects of a 36 year old happily married gay president could carry even more.
Buttigieg started his hitting home political action committee (PAC) after his DNC run. According to Federal Election Commission filings, it's got more than $400,000 in the bank. It's most recent financial focus being supporting congressional candidates around the nation in the midterms.
The most telling sign of a presidential run could be the answer to the other question -- if not president, then what?
Buttigieg already made a failed run at state treasurer in 2010 and with the GOP's stronghold on the state, many believe it's unlikely he would make a run for governor or any other statewide office.
As for a U.S. Senate seat, he would have to wait until Senator Todd Young is up for re-election in 2023.
So for now he's staying in South Bend.
"We got our house and our dogs and I've got a day job that as I said it's not a title, but a job and I intend to use every day of those next 54 weeks to continue delivering on those priorities," said Buttigieg.
Whether a portion of that will be spent campaigning across the country remains to be seen.