WASHINGTON – Beto O’Rourke, the young former candidate for one of Texas’s US Senate seats, formally launched his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign in Iowa on Thursday, promising to deliver a positive and unifying message and to create the largest campaign base in the country’s history.
In a campaign video released on Thursday morning, O’Rourke said, “This is a defining moment of truth for this country. And for every single one of us. The challenges we face right now; the interconnected crises of our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater. And they will either consume us or they will provide us with the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”
He invited people to come to El Paso, Texas, on March 30 to help kick off his campaign, adding that he intends to travel around the country to listen to people’s concerns and stating “I ... want your help organizing where you live.”
O’Rourke – who was accompanied by his wife Amy in the video – said that he cannot meet the current challenges facing the nation alone, adding that only by building a movement that includes everyone can those challenges be met.
A few minutes after releasing the video, O’Rourke held his first campaign event at a cafe in Keokuk, Iowa. The Iowa caucuses will be held next February, the first official event of the 2020 primary season.
O’Rourke, a three-term Texas state congressman, last November lost his bid for one of the state’s two Senate seats in a very close race to Republican Ted Cruz.
Because he lost only narrowly in a traditionally Republican state, the 46-year-old O’Rourke emerged from the contest as one of the most popular Democratic politicians in the nation and has managed to collect millions of dollars in campaign contributions thanks to his dextrous use of the social networks.
In recent days, he has received the support of well-known celebrities like basketball icon LeBron James and pop singer Beyonce.
The father of three children, O’Rourke revealed his presidential ambitions in February when President Donald Trump visited his hometown of El Paso for a political rally in which he defended his controversial promise to build a US-Mexico border wall.
O’Rourke, who speaks Spanish fluently, rapidly convened a parallel event at which he emphasized the contrasts between himself and Trump, who had already announced that he will seek re-election in 2020, and celebrated El Paso’s diversity and rich ethnic milieu while the president was engaging in aggressive rhetoric designed to fire up the anti-immigration sentiments of his base.
In addition, O’Rourke said that he not only opposes the border wall but also promised to tear down the barrier that currently exists between the two nations.
On Thursday in Iowa, O’Rourke said that any of the Democrats competing for their party’s presidential nomination would do much better as president than Trump.
The son of a county judge who is now a major real estate developer, after touring the country during his college years as the bass player in a punk rock band and studying at Columbia University in New York, O’Rourke returned to El Paso to launch an Internet company.
In the economic realm, he has positioned himself squarely in the middle of the Democratic agenda, especially in terms of his defense of free trade.
O’Rourke has joined an ever-growing field of Democrats – currently numbering 14 – vying for the party’s presidential nod, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro.