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Beto O'Rourke's 2020 relaunch still targets Trump instead of Senate

Beto O'Rourke. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Stringer/Getty Images

2020 contender Beto O'Rourke issued a relaunch of his campaign Thursday, refocusing his fight to take on President Trump and shifting campaign efforts away from early primary states, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The move allays speculation that O'Rourke will drop out of the presidential contest to pursue a Senate bid in Texas.

  • O'Rourke has been in the spotlight since a mass shooting killed 22 people in his hometown of El Paso in early August. O'Rourke said he felt even more determined to pursue the Democratic nomination after the attack, stating, "I can meet [Trump] on this issue in very personal terms and from a place that no one else can."

Between the lines: Despite a wave of promoted public appearances, O'Rourke's campaign is still considered a long shot. After 2 lukewarm debate performances and low polling numbers, his candidacy largely stalled.

  • An op-ed in the Houston Chronicle last week urged O'Rourke to "come home" and run for Senate. "The chances of winning the race you’re in now are vanishingly small. And Texas needs you," the paper's Editorial Board wrote.

What he's saying: O'Rourke says he will shift away from the traditional primary-states schedule most presidential contenders follow and instead focus on immigrant-rich communities, making gun control his key talking point.

The bottom line: While O'Rourke has a relaunch strategy, this is not the first time he's tried to re-establish himself as a viable contender.

Go deeper: Beto O'Rourke on the issues, in under 500 words