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(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may have a leg-up on his competition in 2020.
In 2000, then a senior in high school, Buttigieg was voted “most likely to become president” at St. Joseph High School.
The Catholic school’s yearbook was unearthed at a public library in South Bend, the same weekend the mayor of the 299th largest city in America announced he was taking his first swing at the White House. Looking through the rest of his high school yearbooks, he moved from appearing in a single photo his freshman year — sporting shaggy hair and large glasses — to showing off a dizzying array of activities in the following years, including the National Honor Society, Junior Leaders and Philosophy Club. He was often pictured wearing a white shirt, tie and no jacket, which has also become his current political uniform.
His senior year, he was also voted most likely to succeed and eventually became his class valedictorian.
Another person figuring prominently in those same yearbooks is James Mueller. He’s now hoping to eventually take over for “Mayor Pete” at South Bend City Hall and Buttigieg even has a “James Mueller for mayor” sign on his front lawn.
Buttigieg, 37, a self-proclaimed “millennial mayor,” speaks six languages and claims to be the antithesis of President Donald Trump.
He recently told HBO’s Bill Maher that he is a “laid-back, intellectual, young, gay, mayor from the Midwest.”
Buttigieg’s also now openly talking about having a child with his husband, Chasten.
He’s been busy since being anointed in that high school yearbook superlatives section. He graduated from Harvard University and the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the Navy Reserves and served a tour in Afghanistan. And in the weeks leading up to his official campaign kickoff, he has rocketed from near-total national obscurity to a player in the Democratic field.
When he was 18, Buttigieg won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for his research of then U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the man who stands just ahead of him in the polls among the crowded field. “Above all, I commend Bernie Sanders for giving me an answer to those who say American young people see politics as a cesspool of corruption, beyond redemption. I have heard that no sensible young person today would want to give his or her life to public service, I can personally assure you this is untrue,” he told the South Bend Tribune on May 15, 2000. At 29, Buttigieg became the youngest mayor of a city with at least 100,000 residents in 2011. If elected in 2020, he would become the youngest president in American history. “I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor,” he said during his announcement speech.”
He later added, “Up until recently this is not exactly what I had in mind for how I would spend my eighth year as mayor and 38th year in this world, but we live in a moment that compels us each to act.”
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