Beto O'Rourke 2020 presidential campaign

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Beto O'Rourke 2020 presidential campaign
Beto O'Rourke 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign2020 United States presidential election
CandidateBeto O'Rourke
U.S. Representative from Texas (2013–2019)
AffiliationDemocratic Party
AnnouncedMarch 14, 2019
HeadquartersEl Paso, Texas
Key peopleJen O'Malley Dillon (campaign manager)[1]
SloganBeto For America, Beto For All
O'Rourke campaigning in Ohio in March 2019

The 2020 presidential campaign of Beto O'Rourke, the U.S. Representative for Texas's 16th congressional district from 2013 to 2019, was announced on March 14, 2019. Beto O'Rourke had previously attracted national attention for his unsuccessful campaign against Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate election in Texas.[2]


O'Rourke gained prominence on the national stage for challenging incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate election in Texas. He lost by a margin of less than three percent, making the race one of the tightest that year.[3] His Senate campaign earned him a reputation as an effective fundraiser; he raised more than $38 million in the third quarter of 2018 alone, about three times as much as Cruz raised during the same period, and raised a total of about $80 million throughout his campaign. His $80 million haul is the highest amount of money ever raised by a Senate candidate to date.[4][5]

In late 2018, speculation began that O'Rourke might run in the 2020 United States presidential election. Before the midterm elections, The New Republic claimed that O'Rourke's Senate campaign was laying the groundwork for a potential presidential bid, especially since he was likely to lose his Senate race.[6] However, O'Rourke had repeatedly ruled out a presidential bid when asked on the campaign trail. He told MSNBC, "I will not be a candidate for president in 2020. That’s, I think, as definitive as those sentences get."[7]

After losing the Senate race in Texas, O'Rourke mentioned at a town hall meeting that he and his wife had made a decision not to rule anything out.[8] Meanwhile, CNBC reported that O'Rourke's senatorial campaign team had held discussions with senior operatives who worked on former President Barack Obama's campaign as O'Rourke considered a run for the presidency.[9]


Nationwide opinion polling for the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries for O'Rourke
O'Rourke speaking to the California Democratic Party State Convention in June 2019.


On March 14, 2019, O’Rourke officially announced that he is running for president for the 2020 election.[2] The first outlet confirming his announcement was KTSM-TV, El Paso's local NBC-affiliated TV station, where his former brother-in-law was once the news director.[10][11]

Speaking events[edit]

On June 1, O'Rourke delivered remarks at the California Democratic Party Convention in San Francisco, California, referring to California and his home state of Texas as "two border states" that would share with the rest of the United States "that our security will not be purchased through walls or putting kids in cages."[12]

On June 6, O'Rourke spoke at the Democratic National Committee's I Will Vote Gala fundraiser in Atlanta, Georgia, reiterating his support for abortion rights and announcing a proposal meant to register 50 million new voters in addition to preventing Secretary of State offices from purging voter rolls and making Election Day a national holiday.[13]

On June 15, O'Rourke participated in a South Carolina forum, expressing his intent to push for more affordable housing options and that his administration would "complement extraordinary local leadership with federal resources and funding."[14]

On July 7, O'Rourke held a campaign rally at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, Tennessee, where he pledged to grant citizenship to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and to release asylum seekers from federal detention facilities.[15]

On July 11, O'Rourke delivered remarks at the national convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, saying that the United States did not "need to round up people" to keep its citizens safe and stated that he would "lead the effort of rewriting the immigration laws in our own image" if he was elected president.[16]


O'Rourke raised $6.1 million in the first day of his campaign, beating out Bernie Sanders' $5.9 million total and Kamala Harris' $1.5 million total for the highest first-day donation haul.[17] This was later topped by Joe Biden, with $6.3 million.[18] On July 15, the O'Rourke campaign announced it had raised $3.6 million over the period of the past three months, bringing his total since declaring his candidacy to over $13 million. The campaign received 119,888 contributions with $30 being the average donation size.[19]

Staff and leadership[edit]

On May 9, the O'Rourke campaign announced the hiring of Jeff Berman, who had served as a delegate selection director of former President Barack Obama and a delegate strategist for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, as senior adviser for delegate strategy.[20]

On July 17, the O'Rourke campaign announced Aisha McClendon had stepped down as Chief of Staff to Texas Representative Toni Rose to become the campaign's national director of African American outreach.[21]

Political positions[edit]


O'Rourke supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.[22]


O'Rourke supports the implementation of a universal pre-kindergarten program.[22][23]


O'Rourke opposes President Trump's proposed border wall, as well as some of the existing barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.[24]


O'Rourke does not support mandatory single-payer healthcare. Instead, he has expressed support for a public option that would allow people to enter into a Medicare-like program if they choose to; however, they could also choose to keep their private health insurance.[22][25]


O'Rourke opposes the death penalty. He supports the federal legalization of recreational marijuana, saying that the prohibition of it has disproportionately affected racial minorities. He also supports universal background checks for individuals looking to purchase firearms and a ban on "assault weapons."[23][24]

Social issues[edit]

O'Rourke supports same-sex marriage. He opposes President Trump's ban on transgender individuals in the military.[23]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martin, Jonathan. "Beto O'Rourke Hires Former Obama Aide as Campaign Manager". New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Siders, David (March 14, 2019). "Beto announces bid for president". Politico. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Fernandez, Manny (November 6, 2018). "Ted Cruz Defeats Beto O'Rourke for Senate in Texas". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  4. ^ Svitek, Patrick (October 12, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke raised more than $38 million in the third quarter — a record that's about three times Ted Cruz's haul". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Svitek, Patrick (December 7, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke raised $80 million total for Ted Cruz challenge, left little in bank". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  6. ^ Shephard, Alex (October 19, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke Isn't Running for Senate Anymore". The New Republic. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  7. ^ Swanson, Ian (November 11, 2018). "Beto 2020 calls multiply among Dems". The Hill. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Svitek, Patrick; Aguilar, Julián (November 26, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke no longer ruling out 2020 presidential run". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Schwartz, Brian. "Beto O'Rourke's Team Has Been Talking to Obama Political Operatives in Iowa and New Hampshire as 2020 Momentum Builds". NECN.
  10. ^ "Beto O'Rourke is running for President in 2020, KTSM confirms". KTSM. March 13, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  11. ^ "ENGAGEMENTS: O'Rourke–Pearson". May 6, 2001. Retrieved April 7, 2019. Her fiancé is a news director for KTSM News Channel 9.
  12. ^ Zendehnam, Sara (June 1, 2019). "Six Presidential candidates make pitch to SEIU union at breakfast forum". KTVU.
  13. ^ Ellis, Nicquel Terry (June 6, 2019). "Women's rights are 'under assault,' Joe Biden says at Atlanta event with Beto O'Rourke". USA Today.
  14. ^ Kinnard, Meg. "Democrats favor more access to capital for black businesses".
  15. ^ Allison, Natalie (July 7, 2019). "Beto O'Rourke draws hundreds in Nashville, slams Trump's immigration policies during two-day stop".
  16. ^ Glauber, Bill (July 12, 2019). "'Wow, he's going to follow the law?': 2020 Dems slam Trump on census, border issues at LULAC national convention". USA Today.
  17. ^ Martin, Jonathan (March 18, 2019). "Beto O'Rourke Raised $6.1 Million Online in First 24 Hours of Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  18. ^ "Joe Biden campaign reports raising $6.3 million in 24 hours". CNN. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  19. ^ Greenwood, Max (July 15, 2019). "O'Rourke raises $3.6 million in second quarter". The Hill.
  20. ^ Siders, David (May 9, 2019). "Beto O'Rourke hires Obama delegate chief Jeff Berman". Politico.
  21. ^ Stewart, Briana (July 17, 2019). "Beto O'Rourke hires Aisha McClendon as director of African American outreach". ABC News.
  22. ^ a b c Bradner, Eric (March 15, 2019). "What we learned about Beto O'Rourke's policy beliefs on day one of his presidential campaign". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c Desjardins, Lisa (March 14, 2019). "What does Beto O'Rourke believe? Where the candidate stands on 8 issues". PBS. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Bacon Jr., Perry (March 19, 2019). "What Does Beto O'Rourke Believe?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  25. ^ Kliff, Sarah (March 15, 2019). "It is wildly unclear whether Beto O'Rourke supports Medicare-for-all". Vox. Retrieved April 16, 2019.

External links[edit]