SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend) is expected to officially enter the race for President in an announcement Sunday afternoon, capping off a stunning rise in the polls in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
The announcement comes in the midst of a busy week in the news for Buttigieg, who has been publicly trading barbs with Vice President Pence over the hot-button issues of marriage and faith.
"If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," Buttigieg said at an event last weekend. "And that's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you've got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."
Pence responded in an interview with CNN this week.
"I hope that Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith or attacks on the President as he seeks the highest office in the land," said Pence.
"I'm not critical of his faith; I'm critical of bad policies," said Buttigieg in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres. "I don't have a problem with religion. I'm religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community."
Republicans were also critical of the mayor's location choice of the Studebaker facility for Sunday's announcement:
“After weeks of slinging mug at Vice President Mike Pence, Pete Buttigieg picked a location for his announcement that’s very revitalization was made possible because of support and state funding championed by Mike Pence when he served as our governor," said state GOP chair Kyle Hupfer.
In the video above, Politico contributing editor Adam Wren discusses the controversy and previews Buttigieg's big announcement.
Watch FOX59.com for live coverage of the announcement later today, and a full recap tonight on FOX59 News at Ten.