Who Is Running South Bend While Mayor Pete Campaigns?

Presidential hopeful Mayor Pete is all over the place, including Fox News. But who is running his city of South Bend, Indiana?

From Austin, Texas, to West Hollywood, Calif., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential bid has taken him out of town nearly half of the days in recent months, according to his daily calendar, news stories and information online.

Of the 120 days from Feb. 1 through May 31, Buttigieg was away or plans to be away from the South Bend area at least 55 days, or 45 percent of the calendar days.

Mayor Pete was also busy promoting his memoir (how old is he?) “Shortest Way Home.”

Over the four-month span, Buttigieg has or will have been to New York city at least 10 times, Los Angeles and New Hampshire five times, and made four trips each to Washington, D.C., and Iowa. Lis Smith, his campaign’s top communications adviser, has said she’s tried to “get him everywhere” in order to boost his name recognition with voters.

The local paper, The South Bend Tribune, FOIA’d Mayor Pete’s schedule and were given a calendar in which 45 of 120 days were redacted. 45 days! I thought the Democrats were opposed to government redactions.

Local politicians are fine with Mayor Pete’s absentee governing.

“It was one of those, ‘Let’s see how things go,’ and so far they’ve gone smoothly,” Common Council President Tim Scott said. “He’s got good, talented people as department heads. I have had no issues dealing with them. Realistically they’re the ones keeping the city running. I’m sure he’s in touch with them electronically and I can always reach him by phone or email if I need to. Someone running for the highest office in the land, of course he’s going to be gone a lot.”

Let’s check in on South Bend to see how the city is doing. According to USA Today, South Bend, Indiana is one of the worst cities to live in.

South Bend, Indiana is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. There were 1,012 violent crimes in South Bend for every 100,000 residents in 2016, more than double both the state and national violent crime rates of 405 incidents and 386 incidents per 100,000 people, respectively. As is often the case in high crime areas, property values in South Bend are depressed. The typical home in the city is worth just $77,400, less than half the national median home value of $205,000.

Back in March, Chris Wallace of Fox News interviewed Mayor Pete about South Bend. “Critics point out the violent crime rate in South Bend went up to last year, and you had a continuing problem with homelessness, and—I checked it out yesterday—the unemployment rate of South Bend is higher than the unemployment rate for the state of Indiana as a whole.”

Buttigieg countered that the numbers had fluctuated under his administration, not gone up. “It was up and down from year to year, if you look at something like the homicide rate,” he said.

South Bend last had 20 homicides in 2002, but only six and nine in the two years before Buttigieg won election, according to numbers from City-Data. Three of the next five years saw 17 or more homicides.

In a 2018 op-ed, Buttigieg was more straightforward. Writing in the South Bend Tribune, he acknowledged the city’s rise in gun violence. “While our homicide rate remains well below its 1990s levels, this increase is cause for major concern,” he said.

Concern indeed.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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About Liz Sheld

Liz Sheld is the senior news editor at American Greatness. She is a veteran political strategist and pollster who has worked on campaigns and public interest affairs. Liz has written at Breitbart and The Federalist, as well as at PJ Media, where she wrote "The Morning Briefing." In her spare time, she shoots sporting clays and watches documentaries.