A crowd gathered at the Century Center in South Bend Sunday night, not to 'Win the Era,' but to end what was a South Bend dream for many of them.
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg came home to announce the suspension of his presidential campaign.
At a podium flanked by American flags with the South Bend River Lights shining in the background, Buttigieg ended a campaign that he officially announced on April 14, 2019, on a rainy Sunday in an old Studebaker building.
The nation's first openly gay candidate for president ended his historic run.
The event started with Buttigieg's husband, Chasten, taking the podium to introduce him. He said, "It's good to be home." He was visibly emotional.
"This campaign was built on an idea of hope and inclusion," Chasten said. "We gave it everything we had...It's has been an honor and a privilege to share my husband with the rest of this country."
With that, he introduced his husband, Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg thanked the cheering crowd. "It's so good to be in South Bend."
"A year ago we launched our campaign for the American presidency."
Buttigieg reminded the crowd of how the journey began in a cramped office in South Bend.
The crowd then chanted "Mayor Pete!"
"We were never supposed to get anywhere at all."
But Buttigieg said after Iowa, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality.
"We achieved a top four finish in each of the first four states and we made history winning those Iowa caucuses."
"It proved Americans are hungry for a new kind of politics."
"We got into this race for a reason, to defeat the current president and to usher in a new kind of politics."
"Today is a moment of truth ...the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy."
"We have a responsibility to consider the effect of remaining in this race any further."
"So we must recognize at this point in the race the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside... I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency."
The crowd broke into a chant of "2024" after Buttigieg officially stated he was suspending his campaign. Many were visibly emotional.
Buttigieg carried on with his remarks saying, "We are reminded just how urgent it is to change who is in the White House. We cannot miss this moment."
Buttigieg spoke to the importance of Democrats needing to keep the House and win the U.S. Senate.
"So I urge eveyrone who supported me to continue in the cause."
"There is simply too much at stake to retreat to the sidelines at a time like this."
"To the people of South Bend, this river city we love so much ... thank you."
"You made me proud every single day," Buttigieg tells his supporters.
Buttigieg went on to thank his mom, Ann, for all she did. He recalled his dad while choking back emotion. His father died before the race officially got underway. And to Chasten he said, "I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you."
"I know that as this campaign ends, there comes disappointment...it's only the beginning of the change we are going to make together."
"We can and will make American life and politics more like what it could be."
"Thank you for sharing that vision. Thank you for helping us spread that hope. Let's move on together. Thank you."
And with that, Buttigieg ended his speech.
Even before Buttigieg spoke, virtually all of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates tweeted supportive messages.
Also before the announcement was made, Black Lives Matter South Bend issued the following statement:
We’ve just received word that Pete Buttigieg is set to drop out of the Presidential race.
We’re excited to hear this news as we believe that Pete Buttigieg never believed that poor and working class Black folks in his hometown would sink his campaign.
Buttigieg struggled throughout his candidacy to gain traction with minority voters.
Before ending his remarks Sunday night, Buttigieg did not endorse any candidate during his speech.