Reaction From South Bend Following Buttigieg's Withdrawal From The Presidential Race

Pete Buttigieg announces he is suspending his campaign.
Credit Peter Ringenberg

After finishing fourth in the South Carolina primary, Buttigieg came home to South Bend to an emotional and loud crowd to make his announcement Sunday night. 

At the announcement South Bend resident Tracey Thomas, and many others, said the announcement was a loss. 

“As he was speaking up there, I was suddenly really struck. A really capable, talented, thoughtful, dedicated candidate has dropped out of the race and it’s heartbreaking really,” Thomas says. 

South Bend resident Braedon Troy says he was proud Buttigieg raised the profile of the city. 

“It’s incredible to see just where he’s came from. The amount of people who knew who Pete Buttigieg was, was very little,” Troy says. “There were people in this city who didn’t even know who he was. And for him to now be a national figure really puts South Bend on the map.”

Notre Dame Student Rory Jasper was in the crowd Sunday, though he says he’s a supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden. He says Buttigieg’s lack of support with black voters became clear this weekend.

“South Carolina is 66 percent black voters and they just didn’t feel comfortable,” Jasper says. “I watched the debates and I think he just didn’t take ownership of it, and even if he did take ownership of it, he kind of made an excuse.”

Before Buttigieg’s announcement, other presidential candidates tweeted supportive messages for the Navy Reserve veteran. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody echoed some of those sentiments. 

“To say we are proud doesn’t do the effort he and his team made justice,” Zody said in a statement. “He has our everlasting gratitude for a race well run, and for the way he represented Hoosiers on the campaign trail.”

For those in South Bend, it was a foregone conclusion that Buttigieg would seek national office. The crowd chanted “2024” after the announcement, expressing the hope that the 38-year-old would run again. 

“He’s an amazing person as a neighbor, as a human, as a leader, as an orator, as a thoughtful person,” says Dierde Mylod who lives down the street from Buttigieg. “I hope he’ll be doing lots of things in the future but I have no idea what those will be.”.

Indiana Public Broadcasting's Justin Hicks contributed to this story.