South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) said on Monday that he will not seek another term in the mayor's office, a move that could portend a possible 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
"The responsibility of leading an administration also includes the responsibility to recognize when it is time to get ready to move on," Buttigieg said in a news conference at his office.
"I know now that the time has come to prepare the city for new leadership again."
Buttigieg's announcement came just three days before he is expected to speak at a holiday party for the liberal group Progress Iowa in Des Moines — an engagement seen as significant because of Iowa's status as the first state to hold caucuses in presidential election years.
Buttigieg became the youngest person to serve as the mayor of a city with a population of more than 100,000 when he took office in 2012 at the age of 29. He won a second term in 2015.
But speculation has long swirled that Buttigieg, now 36, planned to seek higher office.
He ran unsuccessfully for Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman in 2017. But that bid helped him build a national profile and raised his stature among national Democrats, whose support would be crucial in a potential presidential run.
Still, if he mounts a presidential campaign, Buttigieg is likely to face a crowded primary field, including a large number of possible opponents with sweeping national profiles.
Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Biden to tap law professor who wants to 'end banking as we know it' as OCC chief: reports MORE is said to be considering a potential White House run in 2020. As is Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMatthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' Anti-Greg Abbott TV ad pulled minutes before college football game: Lincoln Project O'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report MORE (D-Texas), who garnered a sort of rockstar status among Democrats during his unsuccessful 2018 Senate bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMatthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' Professor tells Cruz that Texas's voter ID law is racist Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks MORE (R-Texas).
So far, roughly three dozen Democrats have emerged as possible contenders for the party's nomination to challenge President TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE.