Pete Buttigieg will miss South Democratic dinner and fish fry after South Bend shooting

Kirk Brown

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, will miss Friday's Blue Palmetto Dinner and James Clyburn's World Famous Fish Fry in Columbia to take part in a march in his city.

Buttigieg's campaign announced that he would return to South Bend after speaking Friday morning in Miami at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

"He will be in South Bend to be with the community and participate in a march this evening," Chris Meagher, Buttigieg's national press secretary, said in an email.

The march comes after a white police officer in South Bend fatally shot a black man on Sunday.

Buttigieg is still expected to speak Saturday morning at the Democratic state convention and a Planned Parenthood forum in Columbia.

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Buttigieg would be the youngest and first openly gay president if he is elected to the White House next year. He has surprised many pundits with impressive polling numbers and fundraising prowess.

He has been seeking to forge a connection with black voters in South Carolina who are expected to cast a majority of votes when the state holds the South's first Democratic presidential primary next February. 

But that task may be even more challenging because Buttigieg has faced scrutiny this week for his handling of the fallout from Sunday's shooting. After leaving the campaign trail to return to South Bend, the mayor did not attend a vigil at the scene of the shooting, and his brief meeting with the victim's family did not go well, according to The Washington Post.

This article originally appeared on The Greenville News: Pete Buttigieg will miss South Democratic dinner and fish fry after South Bend shooting