Former Texas Congressman and failed senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke is a rising star in the Democrat Party and gained national recognition after a townhall video of him answering whether kneeling during the National Anthem at professional football games should be criticized. His answer went viral and people began to consider O’Rourke for higher office.
The Texas Democrat then competed against Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a hotly contested senatorial race.
“Until he challenged Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last year, O’Rourke was little known outside his hometown of El Paso,” the Associated Press reports. “But the Spanish-speaking 46-year-old former punk rocker became a sensation during a campaign that used grassroots organizing and social media savvy to mobilize young voters and minorities. He got within 3 percentage points of upsetting Cruz — and shattered fundraising records in the process — immediately fueling chatter that he could have higher ambitions.”
Although he narrowly lost and departed from Congress, his new fan base did not believe that was the end of his political career. There were already whispers about potential presidential runs.
Was that the end of O’Rourke’s quick to rise, quick to fall story? In 2018, O’Rourke said during a “60 Minutes” segment that he would not be running for the presidency, even promising his base he wouldn’t do it— “win or lose.”
From CBS News:
JON WERTHEIM: We’ve heard a lotta people speculate that you and Sen. Cruz may face each other again, not in a Senate rematch but running for a higher office. What are your thoughts on– on running for president?
BETO O’ROURKE: I don’t wanna do it. I will not do it. Amy and I are raisin’ an 11-year-old, a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old. And we spent the better part of the last two years not with each other, missing birthdays and anniversaries and time together. And we– we– our– our family could not survive more of that. We, we need to be together.
JON WERTHEIM: Is that reversible? You’re saying you’ll, you’ll never run for president?
BETO O’ROURKE: I’m saying that if elected to the Senate, I’ll serve every day of that six-year term, that I’m not lookin’ at 2020. And, and, in fact, am completely ruling that out, not going to do that.
JON WERTHEIM: No matter what? Win or lose you’re not gonna run–
BETO O’ROURKE: Win or lose–
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JON WERTHEIM: –in 2020?
BETO” O’ROURKE: Win or lose, I’m not– I’m not running in, in 2020. I gotta tell you, it’s incredibly flattering that anyone would ask me the question or that that’s even up for discussion. But, but since people have asked, the answer’s no.
New year, new Beto.
“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in a video announcing his run for the presidency in 2020. “The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater.”
“This is going to be a positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best from every single one of us, that seeks to unite a very divided country,” O’Rourke continued. “We saw the power of this in Texas.”
O’Rourke will join a crowded Democratic field that already has more than a dozen candidates and will be seeking to take on President Trump’s incumbency effort.
From the Daily Caller:
Speculation of O’Rourke entering the national political arena began to percolate as polls showed the Texas Senate race tightening to a margin of single digits in the weeks before the election.
The three-term congressman consistently maintained that he definitively would not be running for president in 2020. However, only a week after meeting with former President Barack Obama, following his election loss in November, the Texas politician revealed that he had changed his mind and was considering walking back his pledge not to launch a bid for the presidency.
Interestingly, Obama notably left O’Rourke’s name off the list of his endorsements prior to the midterm elections, a move that was seen as strategic in part due to the former president’s unpopularity in the state of Texas.
“Beto is not going to be helped by an Obama endorsement in Texas,” Adam Hodge, a Democratic strategist, said at the time. “Quite frankly, he’s got his own brand in Texas.”