Supporters, opponents react to Buttigieg suspending campaign
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - After a year of campaigning, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now out of the presidential race, making the announcement in his hometown Sunday night.
“We must recognize at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and bring our party and our country together,” Buttigieg said.
He made the announcement at the Century Center, calling for democrats to unite to beat President Donald Trump in November.
Buttigieg was relatively unknown just over a year ago but ran a solid campaign as the first openly gay candidate for president, finishing in the top four spots in the first four states and even winning the Iowa caucuses.
South Bend native Josh Mandell said he was a devoted volunteer with the campaign from its first day, and saw first hand how Buttigieg put the city on the map for the right reasons.
“It helped us who have been in South Bend for a while get more notice on the national stage," Mandell said.
"I no longer have to tell people I’m near Notre Dame. I can tell them I’m from South Bend and they know where it is. It brought a lot of attention to issues that we face as a community and how and how we’re trying to deal with those issues so overall it’s been a very positive experience.”
“Pete is a very realist and make sure he doesn’t get in the way of any other,” Sharon Mcbride, a South Bend Common Councilwoman who became a National Co-Chair for Mayor Pete’s campaign said.
“The race is too congested right now, his thought is to look at the numbers and see if there is a straight path to be the nominee and determining that that may not be a factor he took a serious consideration for stepping out.”
McBride said the end of the road brings mixed emotions.
“We were all sad because of how well he had done. Beyond anyone’s expectations. It was a somber moment but (we're) very very proud,” she said.
“A little bit relief (and) a little bit excitement knowing that the work that we had put in, we were able to show some accountability to Mayor Pete and his campaign,” Emmanuel Cannady, a member of Black Lives Matter South Bend said.
Members of BLM like Cannady have been vocally critical of Mayor Pete, and see his exit as a victory.
“We were holding him accountable for the things that he didn’t do in South Bend, and if he wants to propel his career in the national stage, he has to take care of things at home first,” Cannady said.
Buttigieg struggled to win over black supporters around the country.
“As black voters we’re tired of seeing false promises, and when we went to South Carolina and talked to voters, they really said the same thing,” he said.
But McBride sees it differently.
“I think the more we engaged throughout the country with the minority community, the more we saw minority support increase,” she said.
When looking forward to Pete’s future, Cannady said he just wants him to help South Bend first.
“I’m hoping that he can leverage the contacts that he’s made to really revitalize and benefit South Bend," he said.
"Not just the black parts and not just the minority parts, but all of the South Bend, and I think he now has the resources and the power to do that.”
Both tell ABC 57 Buttigieg made the right call and wish him luck in the future - whether it’s in Washington or not.
“Obviously everyone in the world knows that he is a great leader and I am sure that his next phase will be impactful,” McBride said. “There’s a lot more to come, I’m sure with Mayor Pete.”