It’s pretty amazing what South Bend Mayor and sometimes concert pianist Pete Buttigieg did for an encore. “I didn’t think it would be possible to win with this kind of margin and I think it shows that the community is really united,” Buttigieg said. “It doesn’t mean we agree on everything but the community agrees overall on the direction we’re heading as a city.”
In 2011, Buttigieg picked up 74 percent of the vote in beating Republican challenger Wayne Curry. Today, Buttigieg picked up 80 percent of the vote in defeating Republican Kelly Jones. “Four years ago, I turned up as a political unknown, a rookie proposing a fresh start,” Buttigieg told the crowd at the West Side Democratic Club. “And when I showed up asking for that fresh start, you gave me an opportunity to, you endorsed me as a leader and you supported me as a friend. A year ago when it came time for me to step away from the job and the home that I love to go overseas and take up arms under the colors of our nation you supported me as a brother. Earlier this year when I was at the most vulnerable moment in my public and private life, you embraced me as a son. The City of South Bend means the world to me, I love South Bend.
The “most vulnerable moment” the mayor mentioned referred to his ‘coming out’ about his sexual orientation. When asked if he thought that would lessen his appeal at the polls, Buttigieg responded: “Well, there’s no way to know, but what we learned tonight was voters judge you on your record. That I had the opportunity to go before voters, ask for a second term based on what we’ve been able to do on the first.”
The overwhelming support came despite some controversial moves like demoting one police chief and bringing in another from out of town, and passing a plan to return two-way traffic to Main and Michigan Streets downtown.
“As somebody who grew up here, to have this kind of vote of confidence from my own hometown is not only a great political outcome, but something personally that means the world to me.”