Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke announces 2020 presidential run

Beto O'Rourke addresses supporters in El Paso on election night in November

The Democrat confirmed in a text message to El Paso station KTSM that he plans to enter the race, saying his hometown is "a big part of why I'm running".

O'Rourke narrowly lost a U.S. Senate seat to Ted Cruz a year ago.

"But that's very, very, very different from appealing to primary voters with a dozen other Democratic candidates on the ballot", said Michael Steel, a former aide to then-Speaker John A. Boehner and Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential campaign. According to the latest edition of Vanity Fair, Mr O'Rourke said: "You can probably tell that I want to run. I do".

He took a well-publicized road trip across the American Southwest, stopping at colleges and diners.

With his national profile, broad name recognition and a history of smashing fundraising records, O'Rourke jumps into the race immediately as a top-tier candidate.

Asked about "Beto" getting into the race by Fox News, White House Principal Deputy Secretary Hogan Gidley was dismissive of O'Rourke's campaign logo- and merchandise-friendly nickname.

O'Rourke has three days of campaign events in Iowa planned and has promised to travel the country listening to would-be voters.

But that doesn't mean Gingrich thinks she'll win against President Donald Trump, and it didn't stop him from getting a dig in at her politics, which include ending private insurance.

Others jokingly suggested that O'Rourke, who was born Robert O'Rourke of Irish roots but now goes by his childhood nickname, had Italian ancestry, such was the level of his hand motions.

"And on moral grounds", he added, "I oppose the death penalty".

Weeks of gleefully teasing an announcement are behind him, but O'Rourke now must prove whether his unique campaign style will resonate on a much larger stage than Texas. "I think I'd be good at it".

Starting with the Iowa caucuses next year, the Democrat who amasses the majority of delegates nationwide in a series of contests will be nominated at the party's convention in Milwaukee in the summer, and will likely face Trump in November's general election.

It wasn't the first time O'Rourke generated national attention for taking on Trump.

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