• Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigeig. (Getty Images North America)Source: Getty Images North America
Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay mayor from Indiana, is considered the "longest of long shots".
Samuel Leighton-Dore

18 Mar 2019 - 12:51 PM  UPDATED 18 Mar 2019 - 12:51 PM

Despite being one of the lesser-known names in an already crowded field, Peter Buttigieg, an openly gay mayor from Indiana, has met the donor requirements necessary to qualify for the Democratic Party's first primary debate in June.

Taking to social media, the 37 year-old shared the news: “Thanks to you, we hit the @TheDemocrats 65,000 donor goal in order to be invited to the first debate. But we are going to need to raise a lot more money to compete."

He added: “I know I can hold my own on the debate stage and represent your values with honor and integrity, but I need to know we can build a strong organization, too.”

Buttigieg, who last year married his partner and attended Indiana Pride on the same day, is mayor of South Bend in Indiana - known by locals as 'Mayor Pete'. In January of this year he announced that he would be launching an exploratory committee in the hopes of running for President of the United States, with the media immediately labelling him "the longest of long shots".

However, through impressive talks at SXSW and appearances on shows including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The View, the young politician is already making a firm case for his bid.

Having been elected mayor as a 29 year-old in 2011, Buttigieg came out publicly in 2015, writing a column titled 'Why coming out matters'. The article was published days before same-sex marriage bans were abolished by the US Supreme Court.

"We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I'm not used to viewing this as anyone else's business," he wrote.

"But it's clear to me that at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good. For a local student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will always have a place for her. And for a conservative resident from a different generation, whose unease with social change is partly rooted in the impression that he doesn't know anyone gay, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we're all in this together as a community."

According to NBC News, there will be 12 debates scheduled over the 2020 Democratic primary season, with each debate's lineup chosen at random from the pool of qualifying candidates. 

To qualify, candidates need to have either at least one per cent support across three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 unique donors - which Buttigieg has now done.

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