Beto O'Rourke to seek Democratic presidential nomination

Beto O'Rourke came to wider public attention during the November midterms

Beto O'Rourke came to wider public attention during the November midterms

Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke officially announced his 2020 presidential campaign Thursday morning; saying he's "running to serve" because the "challenges we face are the greatest in living memory". 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.

While O'Rourke will have to prove his policy bona fides, his strengths - he's a tireless campaigner who won over younger voters - will serve as a test of whether the Democratic base and its legions of young voters are more interested in inspirational figures or candidates whose ideology matches theirs.

In Iowa, O'Rourke said, "I could care less about your party persuasion, your religion, anything other than the fact that, right now, we are all Americans".

Beto O'Rourke has begun campaigning in his 2020 presidential bid with his first trip to Iowa. It was the closest a Democrat had come to winning a Senate seat in Texas in more than two decades.

O'Rourke garnered star power past year during his high-profile challenge to Cruz.

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".

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump was asked by the press to react to Democrat Robert "Beto" O'Rourke's 2020 presidential bid announcement. For example, Trump branded Senator Cruz as "Lyin' Ted", Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) as "Little Marco", former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) as "low energy", twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as "Crooked Hillary", Senator Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas", and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as "Crazy Bernie".

During the race, O'Rourke had said he was not interested in running for president, but after his loss in November, he said he was seriously considering it.

Trademark, black-and-white "Beto for Senate" yard signs became staples in places like NY and Los Angeles - with some supporters now converting them to read "Beto for President 2020".

O'Rourke refused support from outside political groups and shunned pollsters during his Senate campaign. 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. He's also planning a campaign rally in El Paso on March 30.

Other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have promoted their extensive legislative records. But that's not the case with Beto O'Rourke, the former Texas congressman who threw his hat in the ring late Wednesday.

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