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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

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

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Butterball CEO Jay Jandrain talks turkey

Butterball estimates that it sells one out of every three Thanksgiving turkeys, but knows that this year's celebrations will be different than years past.

Axios Re:Cap talks with the turkey giant's CEO Jay Jandrain about what people are buying, what they're asking the "Turkey Talkline" and what the pandemic has meant for his business.

Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.