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Gay candidate Pete Buttigieg pulls out of US presidential race

Gay candidate Pete Buttigieg pulls out of US presidential race

  • Buttigieg had been the first openly gay major presidential candidate for the US presidency.
Pete Buttigieg.

America’s first major, openly gay presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg has pulled out of the race for the Democratic nomination.

Buttigieg had surprised many with good results in Iowa and New Hampshire. But his performance dropped off when he reached the more diverse state of Nevada.

And on Saturday, fellow democratic candidate Joe Biden scored a resounding victory in South Carolina. That put new pressure on the party’s more centrist or moderate wing to get behind Biden.

Buttigieg has chosen to drop out before Super Tuesday tomorrow. That is when 14 states get their say on who should be the Democratic nominee to take on Donald Trump at the 3 November election.

The result is important as 1,344 delegates are up for grabs of the 1,990 needed to win the nomination in the first round.

‘The path has narrowed to a close’

Despite dropping out, Buttigieg has surprised many with his race.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana was the youngest candidate aged 38. He had no personal fortune, no big email lists and a staff of just four.

Initially he proved a formidable fundraiser, securing $76 million in 2019 for his campaign. But further funding didn’t materialise. That left him without the resources to make an impact on Super Tuesday.

And, as many predicted, Buttigieg wasn’t able to win mass support from people of color – after controversies during his time as mayor.

Addressing his reasons for stopping now Buttigieg said:

‘The truth is that the path has narrowed to a close, for our candidacy if not for our cause. Tonight I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency.’

Meanwhile, his run at the presidency has made Buttigieg a household name across the US.

Biden, who is most likely to benefit from Buttigieg leaving the race, said: 

‘This is just the beginning of his time on the national stage.’

What does this mean for LGBT+ issues in the US?

‘Mayor Pete’ – as he is nicknamed – did not make his sexuality a centrepiece of his candidacy.

However, his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, a teacher he married in 2018, has been a regular face on the campaign trail.

And that has seen commentators and households across the country discuss their relationship.

Despite his sexuality, Buttigieg was not necessarily the first choice among LGBT+ voters.

Many LGBT+ Americans are supporting the more left-leaning Bernie Sanders. And Elizabeth Warren has also attracted widespread LGBT+ support.

Indeed, while many have a favorite Democratic candidate, they will likely rally behind any candidate who can defeat Trump. A recent report shows Trump’s administration has increased its attacks on the LGBT+ community as he prepares for this year’s election race.