Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg looks on during a town hall community meeting, Sunday, June 23, 2019, at Washington High School in South Bend, Ind. Buttigieg faced criticism from angry black residents at the emotional town hall meeting, a week after a white police officer fatally shot a black man in the city. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)

Buttigieg enters biggest stage of career at pivotal moment

June 27, 2019 - 6:00 am

Pete Buttigieg (BOO'-tuh-juhj) has been the early darling of the 2020 Democratic presidential contest.

But the idea of Mayor Pete, a 37-year-old wunderkind some call the antidote to President Donald Trump, has met the reality of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the leader of a segregated city where racial tensions ignited again after last week's fatal shooting of a black man by a white officer.

That reality is crystalizing at a difficult moment. Buttigieg on Thursday will step onto the biggest stage of his career for a debate at which he'll undoubtedly be confronted by the shooting in South Bend, Indiana, and the issues that led up to it.

The night also will include two front-runners, ex-Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, plus fellow contender California Sen. Kamala (KAH'-mah-lah) Harris.

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