Millennial mayor Pete Buttigieg has formally launched a bid to become the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, after a rapid rise from obscure Midwestern politician to top-tier contender.
The 37-year-old is the youngest entrant – after 77-year old Bernie Sanders and 69-year-old Elizabeth Warren also launched their campaigns – and is also the first openly gay major presidential candidate.
He has been mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012 and was credited for turning round the industrial town’s struggling economy.
He told crowds at his launch event in the town: “I recognise the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor.
“More than a little bold – at age 37 – to seek the highest office in the land.”
Polls in Iowa and New Hampshire last week put Buttigieg in third place in both states, behind Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
In the first quarter of this year, he raised $7m (£5.3m) – which outstripped more established rival US Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The Midwestern mayor has received a torrent of media coverage and surged in opinion polls.
Mr Buttigieg said he has taken a “long view” approach to issues and is seen as a voice for the millennial generation.
“I come from that generation that grew up with school shootings as the norm, the generation that produced the bulk of the troops in the post-9/11 conflicts, the generation that is going to be on the business end of climate change for as long as we live,” he said.
He added, “It is time to walk away from the politics of the past and toward something totally different.”
The potential contender could appeal to both moderates in progressives in the party, as he is a former Rhodes Scholar, consultant for the firm McKinsey and Co and US Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan.
More than a dozen Democrats have put themselves forward to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 general election.
The Democratic nominee will be chosen early next year following a series of contests.