By Gothamist |

NYers Welcome 'Fresh' Young Mayor Running For President: Gothamist



Two mayors have emerged from the already overcrowded sea of Democratic presidential candidates: In one corner, we have South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, or plain old "Mayor Pete," just a casually relatable guy. In the other, we have NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who—unlike Buttigieg—has not declared his candidacy but has busied himself checking the requisite boxes. You can only choose one, so, who will it be?

If the NY Times and this recent poll are to be believed, the answer may be Mayor Pete, a 37-year-old progressive underdog who's increasingly gaining traction with voters outside his city and state. According to the Times, Buttigieg drew about 250 New Yorkers to a Manhattan restaurant last week. People, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced Buttigieg, were jazzed to welcome him to NYC. Buttigieg boosters described the candidate as "fresh," "untainted," the embodiment of "East Coast values with a Midwestern knowledge," and (in Johnson's words) "the hottest ticket in town." That was in contrast to de Blasio, who elicited lukewarm reviews: One woman described him as not terrible, while another advised him to: "Stay where you are. Work on that."

These sentiments track with findings from the aforementioned poll, in which New Yorkers ranked de Blasio the lowest out of a handful of Democratic hopefuls. Buttigieg, however, didn't even make the list. Are we really so ready throw open our arms to this other mayor, a mayor we've only just met?

Well, this new mayor, Mayor Pete, is cool and young. He knows you don't know how to pronounce his last name, and although it's not on him to correct your butchering, he's willing to help you learn. (Also: it's pronounced "Boot-edge-edge," or "Boot-a-judge.") A 37-year-old veteran, he has succeeded in growing South Bend's population by modernizing its industry and educational approach. He is also openly gay, and devoutly Christian: I am not religious, but having lived for years under right-wing politicians who've leveraged Christianity to pursue aggressively exclusionary politics, Buttigieg's idea of faith seems encouraging.

Furthermore, Buttigieg and his husband bring two compelling candidates for First Dogs to the table:

So we went to the dog park and @firstdogsSB are a little tuckered out

— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) March 23, 2019

De Blasio might also argue that he's a cool mayor, an ex-punk who loves the nightlife, a benevolent mayor who gave us universal pre-K and paid family leave. However, he also inherited a number of unwieldy problems—a growing population of people experiencing homelessness; a housing crisis; a crumbling public transit system for which the governor is technically responsible—which have so far gone unsolved. Even if none of those preexisting conditions are solely the fault of his actions, the sense among people the Times spoke with was that de Blasio should not be jetting off to key primary states when he has so much work to do here.

Also, he has loudly broadcast his allegiance to the Boston Red Sox in explaining why he refuses to root for the Yankees, which...I don't give a heck about sports but know your audience.

Also, he has the blood of many animals on his hands.

Anyway, and I can't emphasize this enough, de Blasio has not formally thrown his hat into the 2020 ring! So for now, you just have one mayor to consider among the approximate thousands of Democratic 2020 contenders, and that is Mayor Pete.

This is in no way an endorsement of Pete Buttigieg for president; I am not emotionally ready to even think about watching Donald Trump do debates again.