Pete Buttigieg formally launched his campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president before a packed crowd in South Bend, Indiana, on April 14, 2019.
The event was held at Studebaker Building 84, which was the former home of an automotive factory that shut down in the early 1960s. The building is a visual representation of Mayor Pete’s promise on the campaign trail to focus on looking to the future; he has said on the trail, “You can’t have honest politics that revolves around the word ‘again.'” The old factory has been revitalized during Buttigieg’s tenure and now houses a data-storage company and 800,000 square feet of office space.
City officials initially told the South Bend Tribune that an estimated 10,000 people had been expected for Buttigieg’s presidential announcement. But the space did not appear to be big enough to hold that many people. Communications chief Lis Smith shared on Twitter that according to the South Bend Fire Marshal, there were 4,526 inside and more than 1,500 outside.
Images from the event live stream show that the building was packed. Campaign staffer Greta Carnes jokingly remarked in the leadup to Buttigieg’s appearance, “Wow, this is a lot of people!”
Buttigieg shared a video of the large crowd of people that lined up in the rain to get inside.
Buttigieg later posted a photo of the crowd that gathered outside once the event began. He wrote, “We’re at capacity inside the Studebaker building, but spirits are high out in the overflow area. Thanks to everyone who is here with us today, and who is going to join us via livestream from home.”
Lis Smith shared these images from inside the Studebaker building. You can see people standing shoulder to shoulder as they waited for the event to begin.
Smith also shared pictures of Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg, prior to Mayor Pete’s speech. They went outside to address the crowd of people outside who could not fit inside the building. She also shared the Buttigieg’s watching the monitor backstage.
South Bend reporter Jacob Titus described the crowd inside the Studebaker building as having “Mosh pit density.”
Washington Post political reporter Robert Costa tweeted this photo from up above, which shows the packed crowd and the media lined up in the back and the American flag hanging below a Pete for American sign.
WNDU-TV reporter Joshua Short posted this photo of a young girl who had been lifted onto someone’s shoulders so she could better see the stage. She wore a pink shirt that explained how to pronounce Mayor Pete’s last name: “Boot Edge Edge.”
Members of the Buttigieg campaign staff excited the crowd by leading a chant of “Boot Edge Edge,” complete with signs.
Here is a round-up of more crowd photos taken at the South Bend event and from watch parties around the country.