Politics

Beto O’Rourke No Longer Ruling Out Presidential Run

But Texas congressman says he’ll take some time to ‘just be human’ before making decision

Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke told a town hall in his hometown of El Paso that he will focus on unfinished business before his term ends in January before making any final decisions about running for president in two years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Beto O’Rourke is no longer ruling out a run for president in 2020.

During his unsuccessful race against Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke said that “win or lose” he would not consider a presidential bid.

But the Texas congressman shifted his position at a town hall in El Paso on Monday. O’Rourke signaled he would weigh a White House run while emphasizing that he would focus on his work in Congress until his term ends in January.

“And then,” O’Rourke said, “Amy and I will think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community,” the Texas Tribune reported

Then he turned to his wife for approval, joking, “Amy, how was that? Was that good?”

Despite his loss to Cruz, O’Rourke's upstart campaign shattered fundraising records and attracted high-profile admirers, including former President Barack Obama, who has referred to O’Rourke an “impressive young man.”

Obama likened O’Rourke’s magnetism on the campaign trail to his own early career in an interview last week. 

“The reason I was able to make a connection with a sizable portion of the country was because people had a sense that I said what I meant,” Obama said.

O'Rourke was vague about his future in his concession speech earlier this month. 

“This team of which we are all members in some way is going to stay together and continue to aspire to do great things. It may be in individual races, in individual communities. It may not have anything to do with politics,” he said.

In a scrum with reporters after the town hall Monday, O’Rourke acknowledged that he has been considering the White House more seriously in the weeks since his defeat, according to the Tribune.

But O’Rourke is far from officially declaring his candidacy, insisting he will take some time to “just be human.” 

“The best advice I received from people who’ve run for, and won — and run for, and lost — elections like this, is: Don’t make any decisions about anything until you’ve had some time to hang with your family and just be human. And so I am following that advice,” he said.

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