The already-crowded field to become Democratic Party chairman got a new entrant Thursday, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
He joins Jaime Harrison, South Carolina Democratic Party chairman; Sally Boynton Brown, Idaho Democratic Party executive director; Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman; Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
Backers of President Barack Obama and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tend to side with Perez, while many supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., have been behind Ellison.
Harrison, Buckley and Brown tout their backing from party insiders.
Buttigieg, 34, stressed his background as a local official, saying in a message to Democratic National Committee members that “the solutions we need to rebuild our party won't originate in Washington – they will begin in our communities across America’s states and territories.”
He promised to “step away from my post” as mayor to serve as a full-time chairman.
Buttigieg took office January 1, 2012, after having been elected at age 29 with 74 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote.
As a Rhodes Scholar, he studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford and has a bachelor's degree in history and literature from Harvard. He’s a musician, playing piano and guitar, and lives in the same South Bend neighborhood where he grew up.
The candidates will participate in a series of forums starting Jan. 13 in Phoenix. The DNC will choose its new chairman at its winter meeting in Atlanta at the end of February.