Decisive Victory for Buttigieg (Indiana & Pembroke '05) in South Bend

Brian Howey
Howey Politics Indiana
South Bend, Indiana

Pete Buttigieg, 29-year-old Harvard grad and Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, won decisive victory in the Democratic mayoral primary Tuesday and is virtually certain to go on in November to be the new mayor of South Bend (Colwell, HPI). What appeared just a few weeks ago to be a close race between Buttigieg and State Rep. Ryan Dvorak turned into a landslide victory for Buttigieg, thanks in part to a campaign-close switch to negative TV ads and mailings by Dvorak, who attacked Buttigieg as “funded by the same old power brokers.” The tactic backfired. While negative often works in campaigns, Dvorak failed to build any negatives against his opponent throughout most of the campaign. When he suddenly swatted his chief opponent, the general reaction was: “Why did he do that to that nice young man?” Dvorak actually slipped to third in the primary totals. With four serious contenders in the Democratic mayoral nomination race, most projections of political insiders here were that the winner would be the one capturing a third of the vote. Buttigieg captured 53 percent. Second place went to County Councilman Mike Hamann, with 19 percent. Tragedy struck when Hamann’s wife, Mary, died April 22 in Paraguay, where she went to attend their daughter’s wedding.