Pete Buttigieg, South Bend mayor, in Chicago to raise money for 2020 presidential race

CHICAGO (WLS) -- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first mayor to enter the 2020 presidential race, was in Chicago Thursday to raise money for his campaign.

The 37-year-old Democrat from Indiana is openly gay and also the youngest candidate in the race. Buttigieg packed Chicago's City Club as a sold-out crowd came to learn what the buzz is all about.

"So having that different background of a millennial Midwestern mayor I think has equipped me to offer a different vocabulary for what my party stands for," Buttigieg said.

It's a vocabulary that speaks to voters Democrats have lost over the years. Mayor Pete, as he is now known, believes he is the candidate that can effectively translate his party's values - the same ones Buttigieg says Republicans have successfully adopted as their own. His platform is "Democracy, Security and Freedom."

"I don't think you are free in this country if your reproductive health care can be criminalized by the government," he said.

Buttigieg said sticking to the values - rather than a dwelling on President Trump - is the way for Democrats to win in 2020. But Buttigieg, a military veteran who speaks eight languages, faces an uphill battle with non-white voters.

"That is one of the wraps on him, his demographics do not necessarily appeal to voters of color," ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington said. "He's got to address that to get the nomination."

And with all the national media attention and poll numbers that have him ahead of better-known candidates, has Mayor Pete peaked too early in the campaign?

"It's one thing of having high poll numbers and nice press clips. What we really need is that on-the-ground, unglamorous blocking and tackling work in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada," Buttigieg said.

Mayor Pete said his campaign is picking up more support and money. An advertising firm that worked for President Obama's 2008 campaign has signed on with Buttigieg.
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