SOUTH BEND – The Buttigieg Boomlet continues. Here are five significant things about the explosion in national attention for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

1. Mayor Pete now gets more space in the New York Times — lengthy articles from all around the country, frequent favorable columns, big photos — than in the South Bend Tribune. This doesn’t mean his hometown paper neglects him – not at all. But the definition of a national political boomlet includes lots of attention in the national news media.

The Times, with its size and resources, competes with the rest of the national news operations to cover the Buttigieg Boomlet. And the coverage and analysis add to the boomlet. For example, columnist David Brooks writes: “Pete Buttigieg has some kind of magic right now.” He notes the mayor’s surprising showing in polls, book sales and fundraising.

2. Buttigieg has raised enough money to collect a lot more money for his presidential bid. His report of raising over $7 million means he will attract the attention of more potential donors and can afford more fundraising efforts. He reported 158,550 donors, far more than enough to qualify for the first Democratic debates. He also qualifies with poll results, including third place in a poll of likely participants in the Iowa Democratic caucuses.

Money isn’t everything. The candidate with the most funding doesn’t always win. But a healthy level of funding is needed in a presidential campaign for staff, travel, organizing and eventually advertising in multiple states. Buttigieg has reached a healthy level – for now. The necessary level keeps expanding as a campaign goes on and on from early tests in Iowa and New Hampshire to subsequent presidential primaries in state after state. Well, it goes on as long as expectations are met.

3. A big winner already in the Buttigieg Boomlet is the South Bend area. Some cities, states and regions spend millions on advertising to promote tourism and economic development and proclaim their site as a good place to live, to work, to invest. The Chamber of Commerce couldn’t begin to buy all the positive publicity for the area generated by the Buttigieg campaign and promotion of his best-selling book, “Shortest Way Home.”

Everywhere he goes — book signings, TV appearances, newspaper interviews, campaign events — Buttigieg tells of South Bend, a city once described as dying, bouncing back with new developments, an end of population decline and a positive spirit to replace decades of can’t-do doldrums after the Studebaker automotive demise.

Buttigieg neither claims nor deserves total credit for resurgence of his Rust Belt city. But shaking off the rust mentality is real and due in no small measure to Buttigieg.

4. Despite initial skepticism about whether a presidential campaign by a 37-year-old mayor of South Bend would be taken seriously, Buttigieg has proved that his candidacy — to be declared officially on Palm Sunday — was no mistake.

When I wrote last July that he should run for president, the response was mixed. Substantial in the mix was the view that I was nuts to suggest it and that Buttigieg would be nuts to try so soon for president.

Whether I’m nuts is a matter for debate. But it’s clear that Buttigieg made the right decision. He had a message first coming to national attention as he won by losing in his impressive quest to become Democratic national chairman. So why not take a message of paying attention to concerns of folks in Middle America to those folks and beyond?

5. Buttigieg remains a long shot. Turning a boomlet into a boom throughout the 2020 Democratic primaries will be tough. Probable? Not yet. Impossible? Well, once it seemed impossible that Donald Trump could be president. 

Colwell has covered Indiana politics over five decades for the South Bend Tribune.