Heading into a long holiday weekend, here’s an interesting thought experiment related to the recent midterms: if Beto O’Rourke had beaten Ted Cruz in that nationally-watched race for the U.S. Senate, he’d have no choice but to hold off calls to run for president in 2020; O’Rourke pledged he wouldn’t do run for higher office if he was elected to the Senate. But now that he’s wrapping up his third term in Congress, apparently with no gig lined up after leaving Washington, he has a different sort of challenge: rebuffing demands from Democrats to make a bid for the White House in the next campaign cycle.
Johnathan Tilove reports for the Austin American-Statesman and says O’Rourke hasn’t yet given any indication that he’s planning to run for president in 2020. However, there are rumors that O’Rourke is not planning to run again for Senate, so Tilove says it makes the most sense that if he were to stay in politics, he would most likely do so through a bid for the presidency. He says there may have been some hints about his future plans in some of his recent social media posts.
“Every message he’s posted since has been invested with meaning, even if it’s just about taking a run in the snow in D.C. and happening by the Lincoln Memorial – and Lincoln being a member of the House who ran and lost for the Senate in two years, ran and was elected president,” Tilove says. It may be over-reading but … I think that part of what would tug him to run for president is to maintain this thing he has.”
That “thing” is his relationship with his supporters, which Tilove says could whither if O’Rourke doesn’t run again for something soon.
If O’Rourke decides to run for president, he’d likely face a large pool of possible Democratic primary candidates, including: former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
“There’s no shortage … it’ll be people often times with greater credentials for running for president than Beto O’Rourke, but probably no one with a more natural talent for running for office,” Tilove says.
Written by Caroline Covington.