Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Tex.) dropped out of the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday.

The big picture: O'Rourke had once been the subject of buzz, with multiple polls showing him as a viable prospect for the Democrats in 2020. But as his campaign came to fruition, he failed to gain traction, and attempted to rebrand himself multiple times.

Flashback: O'Rourke saw a spike in coverage after a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Tex., which prompted him to make gun control a central issue to his candidacy. He participated in the first four debates, but did not meet the threshold for November's Democratic debate.

  • O'Rourke's aggressive stance on gun control — following in 2020 contender Rep. Eric Swalwell's path — turned a long-held Republican rallying cry into a campaign point when he said "hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15."
  • He also took a hard position on President Trump's rhetoric after the El Paso shooting, calling the president a "white nationalist" and saying he is "encouraging" more racism and violence in the country.

What he's saying:

"We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020. I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever she or he is."
— Beto O'Rourke's statement

What Trump's saying:

"Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was 'born for this.' I don't think so!"
President Trump

What 2020 candidates are saying:

"Thank you, @BetoORourke. Your commitment to ending gun violence and uplifting the voices of the victims and their families has made this presidential race—and our country—stronger. I look forward to working together in the fight to end gun violence."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
"Thank you, @BetoORourke, for running the race you did and for always speaking from the heart. Your passion for your community and conviction to create a future free from gun violence have enriched this campaign and shown us the leader you are."
Sen. Kamala Harris
"Running for office is an act of hope. I’m grateful to @BetoORourke for his leadership and for offering hope to Americans across our country. I know he will continue to fight for a safer and brighter future where all belong."
Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
"I had a chance to spend some time with Beto on the trail these past months. He was always earnest and intent on listening to people and improving their lives. His spirit of service has inspired millions - and I’m sure it will continue in the days ahead."
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
"Thank you @BetoORourke for running a campaign to bring millions of people together, fight for justice for all and end gun violence in America. We are grateful for your leadership."
Sen. Bernie Sanders
"@BetoORourke ran his campaign with energy and sincerity. We will all remember his advocacy on behalf of immigrants and victims of gun violence and the passion with which he held Donald Trump accountable — I’m excited to see what he does next."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Go deeper: 2020 presidential election: Track the candidates

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