Beto O'Rourke officially launched his 2020 presidential campaign Thursday following months of speculation.
During the race, O'Rourke had said he was not interested in running for president, but after his loss in November, he said he was seriously considering it. The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. O'Rourke went through a list of Democratic priorities, including health care, climate change, family separation and criminal justice reform, gesturing or chopping with his hands to emphasize each point.
His national profile grew in August, when NowThis published a video of him answering a question about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem with an off-the-cuff riff about the civil rights movement as he defended players for making their case "nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching".
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a political scientist at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas, told Salon last month O'Rourke's 2018 Senate campaign was "one of the most energized campaigns we have seen in Texas for a very long time".
O'Rourke has promised to travel the country listening to voters, then will return to El Paso, on the border with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on March 30 for an official campaign kickoff. Amy Klobuchar, the politician known colloquially as "Beto" seems to have gotten under the president's skin - or at least gotten Trump's attention.
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He took a well-publicized road trip across the American Southwest, stopping at colleges and diners. He used Instagram and Facebook to stream conversations with people in his neighborhood and life, including a now famous stop at the dentist. He was an underdog when he challenged Cruz, a Republican in the mostly conservative state, but he quickly demonstrated an ability to draw capacity crowds and raise money from voters nationwide. In comparison, O'Rourke has dominated the news cycle on national and local media.
O'Rourke, who raked in an eye-popping $80 million in his unsuccessful bid to topple Sen.
O'Rourke tends to get stellar press: For example, he's the next cover subject for Vanity Fair, with Annie Leibovitz photos to boot.
"We saw the power of this in Texas, where people allowed no difference, however great or however small, to stand between them and divide us", the former congressman said, referring to his failed bid to unseat GOP Sen. "Man, I'm just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment".
O'Rourke's entry is already reverberating around the crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls. "It's a big part of why I'm running". Early on Thursday morning, he released a video announcing his candidacy.