Beto O'Rourke. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Editor's Note: O'Rourke dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Nov. 1, 2019. Below is our original article on his candidacy.

Key facts:
  • Age: 46
  • Born: El Paso
  • Undergraduate: Columbia University
  • Date candidacy announced: March 14, 2019
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 30.1%
  • Previous roles: 3-term representative for Texas' 16th district, served on El Paso City Council 2005–2011.
Stance on key issues:
  • Health care: Has vacillated between endorsing single-payer and Medicare for All, opting to put stock in Medicare for America, which aims to expand "government-run health coverage while keeping employer-sponsored insurance plans," CNN reports.
  • Climate change: Proposed a $5 trillion-plan to address climate change, aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Taxes: Has derided business tax cuts and opposed 2017's GOP tax overhaul. O’Rourke voted in favor of an oil tax in 2016 that would have taxed $10 per barrel of crude oil.
  • Gun control: Called for universal background checks and limits on sale of AR-15s. Opposes requiring states to recognize concealed carry permits granted in other states.
  • Immigration: Vocal critic of Trump's border wall and said U.S. should not criminalize migrants who request asylum between ports of entry.
  • Supreme Court reform: Considers having 5 justices selected by Democrats and 5 by Republicans. 5 more would be selected totaling 20. Has also considered term limits.
  • College: Not on the bill for debt-free college — but supports forgiving student loan debt for public school teachers.
  • Minimum wage: Supports increasing minimum wage to $15/hour.
  • Marijuana: Favors decriminalization and expunging criminal records for cannabis-related offenses.
  • Transparency: Would require cabinet to hold monthly town halls.
  • Big Tech: Doesn't support breaking up Big Tech firms, claiming that would not "ensure dynamism in our economy and address corporate concentration."
  • Voting rights: Announced goal of registering more than 50 million voters and ensuring that 35 million more votes are cast in 2024.
  • Inequality: End racial disparities in education by investing $500 billion towards school-district funding gaps.
Key criticisms:
  • Business policy: Has voted in favor of bills that Democrats say would reduce independent audits of corporations. He was a member of the New Democrat Coalition, which aligned closely with business interests.
  • Teenage years: When he was 15, he wrote a piece of fiction about killing children. He has since expressed regret: "I’m mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words."
  • Hacking: Was a member of America's oldest hacking group, Cult of the Dead Cow, in the 1980s.
1 fun thing
  • O'Rourke used to play in a punk band, Foss, and founded a software company.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 candidates

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that O'Rourke visited all 254 Texas counties, not districts.

Go deeper

Newsrooms abandoned as pandemic drags on

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facing enormous financial pressure and uncertainty around reopenings, media companies are giving up on their years-long building leases for more permanent work-from-home structures. Others are letting employees work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Why it matters: Real estate is often the most expensive asset that media companies own. And for companies that don't own their space, it's often the biggest expense.

2 hours ago - Technology

Dark clouds envelop feel-good Pinterest

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Pinterest set out to be a bright spot in cutthroat Silicon Valley, but now stands to see its reputation forever tarnished by allegations of mistreatment and a toxic culture by women who held senior roles at the company.

Why it matters: Even a company known for progressive policy decisions and successfully combatting hateful and otherwise problematic content isn't immune to the systemic problems that have plagued many tech companies.

Big Tech pushes voter initiatives to counter misinformation

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Tech giants are going all in on civic engagement efforts ahead of November's election to help protect themselves in case they're charged with letting their platforms be used to suppress the vote.

Why it matters: During the pandemic, there's more confusion about the voting process than ever before. Big tech firms, under scrutiny for failing to stem misinformation around voting, want to have concrete efforts they can point to so they don't get blamed for letting an election be manipulated.