Beto O’Rourke tosses hat in presidential ring

National News

March 14, 2019 - 9:26 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced today that he’ll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, pledging to win over voters from both major parties as he tries to translate his political celebrity into a formidable 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 fundraising records in the process — immediately fueling chatter that he could have higher ambitions.

Weeks of teasing an announcement are behind him, but O’Rourke now 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 of color.

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