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Beto O'Rourke.

In a crowded scramble, Beto O'Rourke broke through in a way most candidates could only dream of with his 2020 entry this morning.

The big picture: For a candidate polling in the single digits, O'Rourke has a huge national profile, as shown by the instant response to this morning's announcement.

  • Drudge banner: "BETOMANIA"
  • Trump mocked his announcement video: "“He has a lot of hand movement -- I’ve never seen anything like it ... Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?”
  • Pelosi: “Beto has brought a good deal of vitality to Congress ... when he came, he came as a real champion for the environment.”
  • Early House Democratic endorsements: Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).

Between the lines: "If there’s an elevator pitch for O’Rourke’s presidential candidacy, that’s more or less it: 'I came this close to turning Texas blue. Imagine what I could do nationally,'" FiveThirtyEight notes.

  • "O’Rourke won big in cities like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Not just that, but Texas saw an astounding 3.7 million more votes in 2018 than it did in the midterm elections four years earlier."
  • "O’Rourke outperformed Hillary Clinton by about 6 percentage points in the state."

What's next: O'Rourke's formal campaign kicks off in El Paso on March 30.

  • In the meantime, pay attention to whether his campaign releases early fundraising or volunteer numbers. The current leader on those metrics is Bernie Sanders, who hauled in $5.9 million in his first 24 hours.

Go deeper: Beto O'Rourke: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
10 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.