"No matter what happens, I think the next chapter in our personal lives is going to be about kids," Buttigieg tells PEOPLE
But then after!
“I obviously threw a wrench in our short-term plans,” Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tells PEOPLE a little wryly. “No matter what happens, I think the next chapter in our personal lives is going to be about kids.”
Buttigieg made history last year becoming the first major openly gay candidate for a political party. He very narrowly won the Democratic caucus in Iowa last week and very narrowly lost in New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday (though he tied in delegates won with Sen. Bernie Sanders).
Twelve months ago, he was basically unknown to America. Should he continue his wins — a steep challenge while facing Sanders and others — he could be the first gay president, making Chasten the first “first man.”
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“I’d say it’s now a minority of my meals that are even at a table versus a vehicle or standing up,” Buttigieg says. “You miss that: time spent with friends, just the basics of life. I’ve traded it for this exhilarating, exhausting, wonderful, demanding reality, but it’s just not normal life.”
Chasten, a 30-year-old middle-school teacher, is often on the campaign trail, too. They text and make a point to talk on the phone. If everything matches up, they FaceTime with their dogs, Buddy and Truman.
“He’s not somebody who I think felt that politics was for him or sought out the celebrity world by any stretch,” Buttigieg says. “But he’s also somebody that I think people just naturally take to because he’s a magnetic and wonderful person.”
As one of the few childless candidates in the Democratic field, the subject of kids does come up from time to time. Last year, Buttigieg said he and Chasten’s discussions about imminent parenting meant he had a “personal stake” in how to expand paid parental leave.
Buttigieg tells PEOPLE now he’s “really excited” about fatherhood and “Chasten is just especially wired to be a great parent.”
“We would hope to do [it] soon,” Buttigieg says. “One way or the other.”