Beto O'Rourke announced he is running for president, making it official with an online video released Thursday morning. Spectator spoke to O'Rourke's old roommates and fellow rowers in August, none of whom described him as a student who exhibited any propensity for a political future.
He pointed to his 2018 campaign as a confirmation of the potential for bipartisan appeals in an increasingly polarized electorate, a strategy certain to stand out as frontrunners in the Democratic primary pull the party to the left with proposals for Medicare-for-All health care and national job guarantees.
"You can probably tell that I want to run", he said.
O'Rourke also began to lay out what he saw as his top priorities on the eve of his entrance into the 2020 race.
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.
Fans have been wondering if he would run for president after he lost the senate race to Ted Cruz in November.
After months of ignoring states that vote early in the presidential nominating process, O'Rourke made his first-ever trip to Iowa - popping into a coffee shop in the town of Keokuk while many cable networks went live. Another Texas Democrat, former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro, was already running.
Beto O'Rourke was born to run. for president. His trademark black-and-white "Beto for Senate" signs became hipster must-haves past year in some parts of Seattle, Los Angeles and Brooklyn. He raised about $80 million for his bid, most of it from small-dollar donations, and amassed a nationwide grassroots following while eschewing traditional campaign methods.
O'Rourke refused to hire pollsters for his Senate campaign and only employed a digital consulting firm. "We are going to show the country who we are".
Other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have promoted their extensive legislative records.
"I had to be moving, I had to be meeting people", O'Rourke told Oprah Winfrey in a February interview. A recent Public Policy Polling survey gave O'Rourke 47 percent to Trump's 41 percent. But he's drawn criticism from supporters of Vermont Sen.
Gingrich shared who he believes will be the Democratic candidate: Kamala Harris. But it's a question he may not be able to duck forever, especially with Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary fray.