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Pete Buttigieg Becomes the Latest Democrat to Enter 2020 Presidential Elections

Buttigieg would be America's first openly gay president. His husband, Chasten, has also won over many American voters

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presidential run
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announces that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination during a rally, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in South Bend, Ind. VOA

Kathleen Struck, Esha Sarai contributed to this report.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has become the latest Democrat to formally enter the crowded field of presidential candidates seeking to unseat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

The 37-year-old, who announced a presidential exploratory committee in January, made it official at a rally in South Bend on Sunday.

The Harvard and Oxford graduate and Afghanistan war veteran has gone from being virtually unknown on the national political landscape to surging in recent polls, placing third behind behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

presidential run
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg greets voters during a campaign stop at Portsmouth Gas Light, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, March 8, 2019. VOA
The son of an immigrant from Malta, Buttigieg attended Harvard College around the same time as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He received a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, spent seven months in Afghanistan in the U.S. Navy Reserves as an intelligence analyst and driver and worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. Reportedly he speaks seven languages, some of them fluently, including Spanish and Norwegian.
And in 2011, he was elected mayor of his hometown, South Bend, population 100,000.

Buttigieg would be America’s first openly gay president. His husband, Chasten, has also won over many American voters.

“As for my husband, you know I’m pretty biased, because I love him, but it’s pretty great to see that the rest of America is falling in love with him too,” Buttigieg said at a recent appearance in New Hampshire.

presidential run
Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with an AP reporter at his office in South Bend, Ind., Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA
 The South Bend mayor has raised more than $7 million so far and assured himself a spot in the Democratic presidential debates that begin in June. Analysts say it remains to be seen if Buttigieg can maintain his recent momentum.
ALSO READ: Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is Gushing in the Democratic Presidential Elections

“Sometimes candidates have a few weeks or few months of stardom and then another ‘it candidate’ replaces them,” Leah Askarinam, a reporter and political analyst for Inside Elections, told VOA. “So I think we know he’s viable. I don’t think we know at this point that he’s going to be a star in the field.”

At least 18 Democrats are in the run to become the party’s nominee to face off against President Donald Trump in next year’s election. (VOA)

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FBI Director Warns Russia Still Continuing to Meddle in 2020 US Elections

“We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020,” Wray said

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mueller report, 2020 US presidential elections
FBI Director Christopher Wray (file photo). RFERL

FBI Director Christopher Wray has warned that Russia is continuing its attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, saying it is a “malign foreign influence” that poses a “significant counterintelligence threat” to the United States.

In an April 26 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Wray warned that Russian operations under the direction of President Vladimir Putin are likely to intensify during the 2020 presidential campaign.

“We recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game,” Wray said. “I do think that Russia poses a very significant counterintelligence threat, certainly in the cyber arena, certainly what we call the malign foreign influence territory, certainly in their presence of intelligence officers in this country.”

russia-us, 2020 presidential election
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin are seen during the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina Nov. 30, 2018. VOA

Wray described how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. intelligence agencies created task forces to coordinate their efforts to confront interference in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections — a move that followed Russia’s attempts to manipulate U.S. public opinion during the 2016 presidential race. “We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020,” Wray said.

ALSO READ: Pete Buttigieg Becomes the Latest Democrat to Enter 2020 Presidential Elections

Wray also said that countries like China, Iran, and North Korea have attempted “foreign influence” in the United States.

He said those countries have been “watching and taking note of what the Russians attempted to do in 2016 and since.” “I think we expect that this is going to become a phenomenon we’re going to have to contend with, with a lot more than just Russia,” he said. (RFERL)