Beto O'Rourke, the Texan who gained a national following with his long-shot election battle against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz previous year, will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, a source close to the campaign said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a source tied to O'Rourke's campaign confirmed to Reuters that the ex-congressman would be running.
"The only way for us to live up to the promise of America is to give it our all and to give it for all of us", O'Rourke, 46, said in a video release. We are truly now, more than ever, the last great hope of Earth.
The former Texas congressman pushed back on Trump's inaccurate claims that a drop in crime was due to the barriers in El Paso, telling supporters, "We know that walls do not save lives - walls end lives".
His decision jolts an early election season already stuffed with contenders, adding to the mix a relentless campaigner with a small-dollar fund-raising army, the performative instincts of a former punk rocker and a pro-immigrant vision to counteract President Trump's.
Beto O'Rourke after the 2018 midterms. I tell O'Rourke that perhaps he's simply too normal to be president.More news: Many dead in New Zealand mosque shooting, witness says
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"We shared a common goal", said Ted Houghton, a local financial adviser and longtime O'Rourke donor who raised money for former GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and helped steer millions in state transportation funding to the city.
He took a well-publicized road trip across the American Southwest, stopping at colleges and diners.
The nominating process will test whether O'Rourke can translate that kind of support and star power to a different kind of campaign, one in which he'll be competing against other popular Democrats, not an opponent like Republican Sen.
In his six years in Congress representing part of West Texas along the border with Mexico, O'Rourke largely did not ally himself with progressives, instead joining the centrist "New Democrat" coalition.
It wasn't the first time O'Rourke generated national attention for taking on Trump. "It's just how I think, how I find the next step".