Buttigieg's former chief of staff elected to replace him as South Bend mayor

Buttigieg's former chief of staff elected to replace him as South Bend mayor
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Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden to tout new bridge program at infrastructure law's 60-day mark Stacey Abrams's shocking snub of Biden, Harris signals possible 2024 aspirations President Biden is blaming everyone else for surging inflation  MORE's former chief of staff James Mueller won his election to replace Buttigieg as mayor of South Bend, Ind., on Tuesday.

Buttigieg's former aide defeated Republican high school teacher Sean Haas with 66 percent of the vote, according to South Bend's NBC affiliate WNDU and the South Bend Tribune.

Mueller, a South Bend native, previously served as the city's director of community investment. He touted Buttigieg's policies as mayor, promising to build upon them with the campaign slogan “Keep South Bend Moving Forward.”

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He faced nine other Democrats in the city's Democratic primary in May, garnering 37 percent of the vote.

Buttigieg, who announced last November he would not be seeking a third term as mayor, endorsed Mueller in February, months before the South Bend mayor launched his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

Buttigieg congratulated Mueller on his victory Tuesday night:

The mayor previously called Mueller's primary victory earlier this year a "validation" of his administration's work in South Bend, according to Bloomberg.

Haas faced an uphill battle from the state in the city, which is seen as a Democratic stronghold. South Bend has not had a Republican mayor since 1967. 

Mueller will officially replace Buttigieg as mayor in January. 

Buttigieg has gained traction in fundraising and in recent polls in the 2020 presidential race, finding himself in the race's top tier, along with former Vice President Joe BidenSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).