Beto O'Rourke jumped into the 2020 presidential race Thursday, shaking up the already packed field and pledging to win over voters from both major parties as he tries to translate his political celebrity into a formidable White House bid.
Ticking off a list of crises that threaten the country, including inequality, lack of health care and the environmental problems posed by climate change, O'Rourke said it's time to make a stand.
Beto O'Rourke, the Texan who gained a national following with his long-shot election battle against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz previous year, will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, a source close to the campaign said on Wednesday. "And they will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America".
O'Rourke visited all 254 of Texas' counties while running for Senate and often drew larger-than-expected crowds, including in conservative areas that Democrats gave up on decades ago. He nonetheless harnessed growing nationwide popularity to rake in $80-plus million during the Senate bid, including a staggering $38 million from July to September 2018 alone. He has the potential to tap into various constituencies and, as the El Paso rally demonstrated, a willingness to take on the president. Ted Cruz past year, O'Rourke was little known outside his hometown of El Paso.
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Refraining from referring to his "Beto" nickname, Cotton took O'Rourke to task for telling MSNBC last month that he would "absolutely" tear down the border wall separating his hometown from Mexico.
"Most importantly, he'll build a movement that will rise above the toxic division in our politics and unite this country", she added.
"I'm just born to do this", he told the magazine.
On the down side, O'Rourke also has set himself up for criticism down the trail. "The government at all levels is overly represented by white men", he told Vanity Fair. "I think it's important to have people that are running from different parts of the country". "It's just how I think, how I find the next step. Especially in the fact that there are some really great candidates out there right now". The former representative's entrance into the race has been met with considerable attention: He enjoys high name recognition among the party's base and has, for months, polled in the top six candidates despite not having officially announced until now.