Politics & Government

‘He’s the real deal.’ Jim Gray visits South Bend to back Pete Buttigieg for president.

Jim Gray reflects on his two terms as mayor of Lexington, and what’s next for him

Jim Gray talks about having been mayor of Lexington for 8 years, and discusses what's next for him.
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Jim Gray talks about having been mayor of Lexington for 8 years, and discusses what's next for him.

President hopeful Pete Buttigieg received support Sunday from former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who made the trip to South Bend, Ind. to watch the 37-year-old gay mayor officially launch his presidential bid.

Buttigieg captured the national political eye as he turned his long-shot campaign into a serious contender with a series of viral television appearances and a first-quarter fundraising haul larger than more well-known candidates. Gray had high praise for the fellow mayor.

“As mayor, I got to know Pete,” Gray told the Herald-Leader Monday. “He’s the real deal. Effective. Engaging. Successful as a mayor. He’s all about looking forward with a vision. His remarks yesterday were his own, not scripted, from the head and from the heart. He’s smart and experienced. What we need in a president.”

Gray made history in 2016 when he became the first openly gay Kentuckian to run for U.S. Senate in a state where past candidates had been smeared for being “limp-wristed.

Gray said he was one of about 10 current or former mayors who attended Buttigieg’s campaign launch. He posted a picture with Buttigieg on Twitter Sunday afternoon, calling the moment “historic.”

“An honor to be in South Bend with @PeteButtigieg as he enters his historic race for the Presidency. #PeteForAmerica,” Gray tweeted Sunday.

Buttigieg is the 18th Democrat to say they’re running for president, according to the Chicago Tribune. Buttigieg was introduced by three mayors, including West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, the chairman of the U.S. Gay/Lesbian caucuses.

Gray was Lexington’s first two-term mayor since 1998. He has not stated what is next in his career, but said in December he is not leaving Lexington.