Former Texas Rep. Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke announced he is running for president early Thursday morning.
"Amy and I are happy to share with you that I’m running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America," O'Rourke said in a video announcing his candidacy. "This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us. The challenges we face right now, the interconnected crises in our democracy, and our climate have never been greater.”
"They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America," he added.
The El Paso Democrat’s entrance into the race adds a rising political star to the increasingly crowded field of Democratic hopefuls. He joins the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), among others, in seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
O’Rourke garnered star power last year during his high-profile challenge to Cruz. His social media presence and immense fundraising power lifted him from a little-known three-term congressman to a Democratic rockstar with a following that stretched well beyond Texas.
While he ultimately lost to Cruz in November, O’Rourke managed to come within less than 3 points of a win in Texas, a state with a reputation as a Republican stronghold. Voters in the Lone Star State haven’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in roughly three decades.
Unlike other presidential candidates who had mulled White House bids for months or even years before announcing their campaigns, O’Rourke only began being floated as a possible presidential contender after losing his Senate race against Cruz in November. (The Hill)
O’Rourke said he will hold a kick-off rally for his campaign on March 30 in El Paso, Texas.
Commenting on O'Rourke's decision to enter the race, RNC communications director Michael Ahrens said "it's telling that the Democrats’ biggest star is someone whose biggest accomplishment is losing."
His statement continued: "Beto O’Rourke failed to get anything done in Congress, and with extreme policies like government-run health care and tearing down border barriers, his 2020 bid won’t be successful either.”