The Ticket: Pete Buttigieg Finds His Spot Among the Top Contenders

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WEST SACRAMENTO -- There are several Democrats running for president in 2020 and while some have chosen to go on the attack, others, like South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, opt for a different approach.

Buttigieg chooses to showcase his Washington outsider status in hopes that voters will make the 37-year-old military veteran the first openly gay president of the United States.

Mayor Pete, as he’s known, has had quite the rise so far. As of Wednesday, he was listed fourth in most national polls above California Senator Kamala Harris, although the latest Monmouth poll has them both tied for that spot.

The excitement from his supporters and a friendship with a certain mayor brought Buttigieg to West Sacramento on Sunday.

“Mayor Chris Cabaldon is a good friend and he was letting us know how much support and energy there was, and boy that sure proved out,” Buttigieg told FOX40. “I think California voters are coming to understand the importance of California as, effectively, an early state in the nominating process. And our campaign definitely recognizes the importance of the California vote.”

While most people think Harris has the home-field advantage in California, Buttigieg said he sees the state as being “wide open.”

“I think it’s a very competitive state because people are really looking the candidates over, kicking the tires on our ideas,” Buttigieg said. “And I think they’re looking for somebody who can boldly move the country forward and do it in a way that helps get us past this ugly moment that we're in right now.”

The last part of that statement was aimed at the current president of the United States and the gridlock in Washington. As far as the official impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump goes, Buttigieg is in full support but said the process cannot be partisan.

“I believe when it comes to impeachment we really need to try to leave the politics out of it,” Buttigieg said. “This is a constitutional process of the highest gravity and it concerns presidential misconduct and, frankly, should be something that Republicans and Democrats act on.”

When looking at California and the future of its unique economic landscape, Mayor Pete is focused on keeping workers’ wages and rights at top of mind.

“The reality is we’ve got to prepare for a future that's going to be very different from the past,” he said. “The workplace, the workforce, all of these things are changing. But that doesn’t have to be something to be afraid of if we have the right policies to support workers, make sure that everybody is earning a living wage.”

And while Buttigieg told FOX40 his strategy isn’t to throw political jabs, he said he does believe he’s more than ready to take on President Trump.

“As a war veteran, I have taken worse incoming than tweets full of typos,” Buttigieg said. “I’m not worried about this president. He’s going to do what he’s going to do and I’m going to focus on how we’re going to make the American people better off.”

Watch Nikki Laurenzo's interview with Pete Buttigieg in its entirety below.

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