Updated 8.30pm –
Pete Buttigieg, the gay, liberal mayor of a small American city in the conservative bastion of Indiana, is officially launching his US presidential bid, joining a crowded field of Democrats vying for their party’s nomination in 2020.
The 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and Afghanistan war veteran is the two-term mayor of his hometown of South Bend — a left-leaning bubble in America’s so-called “Rust Belt” region, where the decline of industries such as steel and automobile manufacturing has hurt local economies.
His father Joseph, a Maltese university academic, emigrated in the 1970s and passed away in January.
Voters in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin helped hand Republican US President Donald Trump his victory in the 2016 election.
Buttigieg, who is credited with helping turn South Bend around, has couched himself as a can-do reformer who can speak to voters across the political spectrum.
“Here you have this moment, probably the only moment in American history, where it just might make sense for somebody my age, coming from experience in the industrial Midwest, non-federal, different background, bringing something that will actually help Americans,”…