RYE, NH (CBS) – It wasn’t even 7:30 in the morning on Friday, but the line of cars stretched down Washington Road in Rye, New Hampshire. The cars were empty. Everyone who had been in them was crowded into the barn at State Rep. Jackie Grote’s property…waiting for Pete Buttigieg.
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana is now polling fifth in the race for President and came out on top in the Second Quarter fundraising race with almost $25 million.
A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and Harvard graduate, Buttigieg also served in the military. In 2014, he took a leave from the mayor’s office to serve as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan in the U.S. Naval Reserves. They are experiences that Buttigieg hope will prove to voters he is more than the sum of his years. At 37, he is the youngest candidate in the race and would be the youngest U.S. president ever elected if he wins.
Asked why he wouldn’t consider running for Indiana Governor instead—and gaining more experience—before running for president at a later date, Buttigieg told Lisa Hughes, “I don’t believe in running for office just so you can run for some other office someday. You make yourself useful where you are.”
He paused momentarily and continued. “And I’ll admit, it’s surprising to everyone—and even me—that things have shaped up in our country to the moment that a young mayor from the Midwest could be the answer to where we are nationally,” he said.
Watch Full Interview With Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg points to voter frustration with “the establishment” as one sign that he’s running at the right time.
As the only openly gay candidate in the race, Buttigieg has received widespread support from the LGBTQ community. In an increasingly hectic campaign, he says his marriage to Chasten grounds him. Asked how Americans would refer to Chasten if Buttigieg is elected president, he explained, “First Gentleman is what we call him in South Bend. And we’d probably go with that. And he’s a great First Gentleman.”
Buttigieg supports universal health care, immediate action on climate change and racial equality. Earlier this week he released a comprehensive “Douglass Plan” which he says aims to eradicate systemic racism and racial discrimination in business, education, health care and the criminal justice system. With some polls showing his support among African Americans at “0” and a recent deadly shooting of a black man by a white South Bend police officer, Buttigieg knows he has work to do to win over black voters.
In the Rye barn, he rallied a crowd that spilled into the driveway. His campaign says it was his 28th stop in New Hampshire where “Mayor Pete”—as he’s often called—hopes to become both a household name and a winner.