Beto O’Rourke has continued to put out feelers for a possible run for the presidency in 2020 — most recently gauging interest from prominent black Democrats like former president Barack Obama and Florida governor candidate Andrew Gillum.
O’Rourke, the lame-duck Democratic congressman who narrowly lost to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in the Texas Senate race in November, has spoken with Obama, Gillum, and Rev. Al Sharpton over the last few of weeks.
Gillum, who narrowly lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in the Florida governor race in November but rose to national heights for his progressive bona fides, set up a phone call recently with O’Rourke during which both men said they wanted someone “young and unapologetically progressive” to be the face of the Democratic Party moving forward, NBC News reported.
The phone call was the first time O’Rourke and Gillum had spoken to one another.
O’Rourke met with Obama a little more than a week after his Texas Senate defeat in November, The Washington Post has previously reported.
Obama has publicly described O’Rourke as an “impressive young man who ran a terrific race in Texas.” O’Rourke’s barnstorming campaign across Texas has drawn parallels to the former president’s relentless campaign style of showing up anywhere and everywhere.
“What I liked most about his race was that it didn’t feel constantly poll-tested,” Obama said on a podcast, The Axe Files, with his former chief political strategist, David Axelrod. “It felt as if he based his statements and his positions on what he believed. And that, you’d like to think, is normally how things work. Sadly it’s not.”
O’Rourke has also spoken with Sharpton, who has been instrumental for Democratic presidential candidates in the past making inroads with religious black voters.
Sharpton, an MSNBC contributor, told the network that O’Rourke did not reveal which way he was leaning on a potential presidential bid.