Top Buttigieg mayoral aide wins primary to lead Indiana city

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Top Buttigieg mayoral aide wins primary to lead Indiana city
FILE - In this April 19, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg during a campaign stop at a dairy company in Londonderry, N.H. The relatively few Democratic presidential candidates from red states have taken different approaches to convincing voters that a familiarity with Donald Trump country could help them denying him a second term. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) has won the party’s primary to take his place as mayor of his Indiana hometown.

James Mueller won the Democratic nomination for South Bend mayor with 37% of Tuesday’s vote to comfortably lead a nine-candidate field. Mueller is the city’s Department of Community Investment director and Buttigieg endorsed his high school classmate for the nomination.

Buttigieg called Mueller’s victory “good validation” of his administration’s work in the 100,000-person city since he became mayor in 2012.

The 37-year-old Buttigieg has become one of the hottest names among Democratic presidential hopefuls, positioning himself as face of a new generation.

Mueller faces Republican Sean Haas, a high school teacher, in November’s election. South Bend hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since the 1960s.