pcloudyn.png
Thursday August 22nd, 2019 7:38AM

Democrat Beto O'Rourke announces 2020 White House bid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke formally announced Thursday that he'll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, ending months of intense speculation over whether he'd try to translate his newfound political celebrity into a White House bid.

Until he challenged Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last year, O'Rourke was little known outside his hometown of El Paso. 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 in the nation's largest red state — and shattered national fundraising records in the process — immediately fueling chatter that he could have higher ambitions.

Now O'Rourke must prove whether the energy he brought to the Texas campaign will resonate on a much larger stage. For all the buzz associated with his candidacy, the former three-term congressman hasn't demonstrated much skill in domestic or foreign policy. And, as a white man, he's entering a field that has been celebrated for its diverse roster of women and people and color.

"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 said in a video announcement with his wife on a couch. "We saw the power of this in Texas."

O'Rourke joins a large and unsettled 2020 field in which his fundraising prowess, bipartisan optimism, southwestern Texas charm and anti-establishment attitude could quickly make him a political force. His lack of governing experience could hurt, but President Donald Trump's rise suggests that the U.S. electorate might welcome a charismatic outsider.

The sports and entertainment world already had its eye on O'Rourke during the Senate campaign: NBA star LeBron James wore an O'Rourke hat after video of the Texan defending NFL players' right to protest during the national anthem went viral. Beyonce, a Houston native, endorsed O'Rourke.

And he was the only presidential prospect interviewed in February by Oprah Winfrey, who appeared genuinely excited about the prospect of an O'Rourke White House run.

Should he parlay a 2018 Senate defeat into a successful 2020 White House campaign, O'Rourke would be the first U.S. politician to do so since Abraham Lincoln lost his Senate bid to Stephen Douglas in Illinois in 1858, then was elected president two years later.

Democrats have long dreamed that a booming Hispanic population and droves of Americans moving to Texas from elsewhere could turn the nation's largest red state blue and transform the Electoral College by making the Republican path to the presidency all but impossible. It remains to be seen, though, whether O'Rourke's home-state appeal could truly make Texas competitive. Another Texan, former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro, was already running.

Trump has repeatedly blasted the idea of an O'Rourke presidential try, calling him a "flake" and a "total lightweight" and joking, "I thought you were supposed to win before you run for president."

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. It's a strategy that could serve him well in Iowa, which kicks off presidential voting and where Cruz campaigned in all 99 counties before winning its caucus during the 2016 GOP presidential primary.

O'Rourke is scheduled to visit Iowa later Thursday and has three full days of political events planned there.

The Texan's advisers have reached out to early-state Democratic officials seeking advice for potential hires and strategy. And, in New Hampshire, home to the nation's first primary, an O'Rourke adviser asked for guidance on how they might schedule a driving tour through the state should he arrive coming from the West — indicating that a cross-country trip of sorts might be part of a campaign rollout plan.

Although he isn't among the first wave of Democrats to jump into the race, O'Rourke enters with strong national name recognition. Democratic operatives in states with early presidential primaries, including South Carolina and Nevada, have formed Draft Beto groups that spent months fundraising, lining up potential O'Rourke endorsements and building campaign infrastructure until their candidate was ready.

A onetime guitarist for an El Paso punk band called Foss, O'Rourke boosted his already considerable nonpolitical street cred in the Senate race with a viral video showing him skateboarding across a Whataburger restaurant parking lot. His trademark black-and-white "Beto for Senate" signs became hipster must-haves last year in some parts of Seattle, Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

O'Rourke refused support from outside political groups and shunned pollsters during his Senate campaign. But he harnessed growing nationwide popularity to rake in $80-plus million in donations, including a staggering $38 million from July to September 2018 alone.

While challenging Cruz, O'Rourke insisted that he had no interest in running for president, vowing to quietly return to El Paso should he lose. But during his election night concession speech, he let rip the kind of casual swearing that freckled an unorthodox campaign, declaring to supporters on national television: "All of you, showing the country how you do this, I'm so f---ing proud of you guys," before promising, "We'll see you down the road."

Other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have promoted their extensive legislative records. O'Rourke passed just three bills during his six years in Congress: two related to temporary health benefits and college tuition assistance to veterans and one renaming El Paso's federal courthouse.

While running for Senate, he offered an unapologetically liberal vision, supporting Trump's impeachment, universal health care, gun control, marijuana decriminalization, steep federal subsidies for prekindergarten education and relaxed immigration policies. But he's drawn criticism from supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 Democratic presidential campaign who worry O'Rourke is too moderate to excite Democrats' liberal base.

O'Rourke has shrugged off such complaints, saying he doesn't know if he's liberal enough to be called a "progressive" and doesn't much care for party labels. But it's a question he may not be able to duck forever, especially with Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary fray.

  • Associated Categories: Local/State News, Politics, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Democrat Beto O'Rourke announces 2020 White House bid
Former congressman Beto O'Rourke is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, hoping to turn buzz from a surprisingly close November loss in Texas' Senate race into a White House bid
6:02AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Charity used in fraudulent college donations, feds say
Prosecutors and tax documents say the mastermind of a wide-ranging college admissions scandal set up a charity that funneled money from wealthy parents to bribe coaches and others to get their children into elite universities
5:53AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Germany: Crematorium goes up in flames, bodies survive
A fire at a crematorium in southern Germany has caused significant damage to the building _ but the 20 bodies stored inside remained intact
5:44AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Rejected in 2016, Sanders hopes for a warmer reception in SC
Bernie Sanders is heading back to South Carolina, the state where he was badly beat in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary
4:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Boeing's newest plane becomes its biggest headache
Boeing's newest version of its best-selling airliner ever has turned into its biggest headache
3:56AM ( 2 hours ago )
Democrat: Whitaker didn't deny talking to Trump about Cohen
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee suggested that former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker may have had conversations with President Donald Trump about Michael Cohen's legal troubles
3:42AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump raises possibility of walking away from China deal
Trump dangles prospect of walking away from a new trade deal with China if it's not to his liking
11:00PM ( 7 hours ago )
Senate votes to end support for Saudi war in Yemen
The Senate has voted to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition's war in Yemen, bringing Congress one step closer to a unprecedented rebuke of President Trump's foreign policy
7:15PM ( 10 hours ago )
US warns of sophisticated cyberattacks from Russia, China
The top Pentagon cyber leaders say cyberattacks from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are increasingly sophisticated
7:14PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
O'Rourke tells El Paso TV station he's in race for president
Democrat Beto O'Rourke has told a Texas TV station that he's running for president in 2020
3:09AM ( 3 hours ago )
Howard Schultz offers vision for an independent presidency
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Wednesday offered his vision for what an independent presidency could look like, even though he still hasn't decided whether to enter the White House race himself
4:19PM ( 13 hours ago )
Bipartisanship in 2020? Not so fast, some Democrats say
Running on bipartisanship in 2020? Not so fast, some Democrats say
3:34PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Elections
Dems in limbo as Biden's 2020 decision 'a few weeks' away
Democrats in limbo as Biden's 2020 decision 'a few weeks' away
9:50PM ( 1 day ago )
AP sources: O'Rourke to make multiple stops in leadoff Iowa
Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke is planning a series of stops in Iowa beginning Thursday as he nears an announcement on a 2020 White House bid
8:45PM ( 1 day ago )
Dem in limbo as Biden's 2020 decision 'a few weeks' away
Democrats in limbo as Biden's 2020 decision 'a few weeks' away
4:46PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
The Latest: Colombia: Maduro relatives seek outage relief
Like many other Venezuelans, they were sick and tired of the blackout
3:40PM ( 1 day ago )
Algerians keep up pressure after president's half-concession
Algerian students protested against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's decision to delay presidential elections indefinitely
2:16PM ( 1 day ago )
'Run Joe Run' signs greet Biden at firefighters' speech
Former Vice President Joe Biden is criticizing President Donald Trump's leadership and questioning Republican's commitment to middle class America, teasing out themes of a possible 2020 presidential run
1:42PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
House OKs election, ethics overhaul; Senate to slam door
The Democratic-controlled House has approved legislation aimed at reducing the role of big money in politics, ensuring fair elections and strengthening ethics standards
4:59PM ( 5 days ago )
House OKs election overhaul, but Senate likely to slam door
The Democratic-controlled House has approved legislation aimed at reducing the role of big money in politics, ensuring fair elections and strengthening ethics standards
1:58PM ( 5 days ago )
House OKs election overhaul package, but Senate to slam door
The Democratic-controlled House has approved legislation aimed at reducing the role of big money in politics, ensuring fair elections and strengthening ethics standards
12:17PM ( 5 days ago )
General Senate Election News
In Dems' 'Medicare for All' battle cry, GOP sees '20 weapon
Republican strategists see 'Medicare for All' proposals from Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers gives them opening to use health care as 2020 campaign issue
4:51PM ( 2 days ago )
Dems pick Milwaukee for 2020 convention over Miami, Houston
The Democratic National Committee has selected Milwaukee to host the 2020 national convention
4:11PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Republicans say Milwaukee good for socialists
Wisconsin's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson says Milwaukee hosting the Democratic National Convention next year will provide a "first-hand look at Democrats' extreme policies."
2:00PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Trump's budget proposal offers preview of upcoming campaign
President Donald Trump's latest budget proposal offers an early window into his upcoming campaign
7:20AM ( 1 day ago )
Trump's campaign agenda found in his new budget proposal
Budget proposal opens an early window into Trump's campaign for re-election
12:17AM ( 2 days ago )
Trump budget previews campaign agenda of reruns
President Donald Trump is giving little indication in his newest budget proposal of what he hopes to accomplish in the coming two, or six, years
7:20PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Charity used in fraudulent college donations, feds say
Prosecutors and tax documents say the mastermind of a wide-ranging college admissions scandal set up a charity that funneled money from wealthy parents to bribe coaches and others to get their children into elite universities
5:53AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Germany: Crematorium goes up in flames, bodies survive
A fire at a crematorium in southern Germany has caused significant damage to the building _ but the 20 bodies stored inside remained intact
5:44AM ( 30 minutes ago )
World stocks rise ahead of vote to push Brexit back
World stocks rise ahead of vote to delay Britain's exit from the EU
5:42AM ( 32 minutes ago )
UK lawmakers set for another big Brexit vote
British lawmakers are set to vote on whether to delay Britain's departure from the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to overcome further erosion of her authority
5:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
2nd day of searching at Nigeria school building collapse
2nd day of searching at Nigeria school building collapse; unknown number of children missing
4:49AM ( 1 hour ago )