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Pete Buttigieg's term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ends in January — freeing up the rising 2020 candidate’s schedule and opening the doors to new potential fundraising avenues just weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

The big picture: Buttigieg hasn't been tied to his desk, but hometown responsibilities have occasionally taken him off the trail. Most notably, he paused campaigning in June after an officer-involved shooting of a black man sparked protests throughout his town.

  • But with a free calendar, Buttigieg can go all-in in Iowa. Meanwhile, his competitors from the Senate will likely be caught up in impeachment trials, dragging them to Washington and away from early-state voters.

Buttigieg counts many fans on Wall Street. But policies at several financial institutions limit employees from donating to sitting politicians when the transaction could be interpreted as pay-to-play.

  • Towns like South Bend typically don't garner a lot of Wall Street business, meaning it's unlikely that a sweeping number of employees have been blocked from funding the mayor. Nonetheless, Buttigieg's departure from executive power could free up that financial outlet at a vital time for the campaign.
  • Of note: The mayor already has enjoyed success with fundraising, hauling in $19.1 million in Q3.

The bottom line: The transition comes at a great time for Buttigieg. His polling is up, his fundraising is strong and his calendar is about to be a whole lot easier.

What to watch: Buttigieg's hand-picked successor will be sworn in on Jan. 1. The Iowa caucuses are on Feb. 3.

Go deeper: Buttigieg to face frontrunner scrutiny after surprise Iowa poll

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