Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
With a new year comes a new title for 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg: former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
The big picture: Buttigieg's term as mayor will end Wednesday as James Mueller, who served in Buttigieg's administration as chief of staff, is set to be sworn in. Buttigieg announced he would not run for re-election in 2018.
- Mueller received Buttigieg's endorsement in February 2019. He won a crowded primary for the city's Democratic nomination in May.
Why it matters: The title change frees up Buttigieg's schedule at a vital time in the presidential race. While he hadn't been tied to his desk in South Bend, hometown commitments occasionally took him off the trail. Most notably, he paused campaigning in June after protests broke out in South Bend in the wake of an officer-involved shooting of a black man.
- Buttigieg is now free to spend all his time in Iowa just weeks away from its first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3.
- Buttigieg also holds an advantage over the five senators also competing for the nomination. The pending impeachment trial of President Trump would force Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet to remain in Washington.