Reporting by Ed O'Keefe
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the young, gay, millennial Navy veteran, who ran unsuccessfully in 2017 to lead the Democratic National Committee — announced early Wednesday morning he is forming an exploratory committee to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
Buttigieg made the announcement on Twitter:
He also emailed supporters and will hold a news conference later in the day in Washington, D.C.
A Democrat elected in one of the most conservative states in the U.S., Buttigieg served as a naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan. And at 37 years old (he just had a birthday), he's the youngest candidate — and the first millennial — in a rapidly growing field that could see a few White House aspirants who are twice his age.
In 2011, at 29, Buttigieg was elected to his first term as mayor, becoming the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with a population of over 100,000. During his tenure, he worked to redevelop the city, restoring and rebuilding abandoned homes and funding investment in South Bend's parks and trails.
Buttigieg was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work after he took a leave of absence from his mayoral duties in 2014 to serve in Afghanistan on a seven-month deployment with the Navy.
In 2016, he ran for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, losing the race to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
Buttigieg graduated from Harvard Phi Beta Kappa and is also a Rhodes scholar. He studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford.
He announced in December he would not seek re-election for a third term. He said serving as mayor of South Bend "has been the great honor of my life." And while he thinks it's possible it could be the best job he'll ever have, "it is also not the kind of job you do forever."
Sara Cook and Jack Turman contributed to this report.