Aug 11, 2019

Beto O'Rourke says he's more determined to pursue nomination after El Paso

Beto O'Rourke consoles a man at a makeshift memorial outside the El Paso Walmart where a mass shooter killed 22 people. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

In an interview with the New York Times, 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke said he's even more determined to win the Democratic nomination after the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, dismissing calls to use his recalibrated time in the spotlight to make a high-profile run for Senate.

"I'm running for president. ... At a time that the president is attacking this community, this part of the world, the U.S.-Mexico border, cities of immigrants, that’s where I am. That’s where I live. That’s where we’re raising our family. I can meet him on this issue in very personal terms and from a place that no one else can.”

The big picture: O'Rourke's campaign has largely stalled in the months since he jumped in the race, with his massive early fundraising totals overshadowed by a pair of mild debate performances and lackluster polling. But in the face of tragedy, the former congressman has become an ambassador for those affected by gun violence, positioning himself as a foil to Trump through newly impassioned speeches and appearances on cable news.

  • A clip of a frustrated O'Rourke went viral last week after he was asked by a reporter if there's anything Trump could do to improve his relationship with the Hispanic American community.
  • Along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, O'Rourke also became one of the first candidates to label Trump a "white supremacist."

Where it stands: A Monmouth University poll conducted Aug. 1–4 found O’Rourke with less than 1% of support from likely Iowa Democratic caucus voters, down from 6% in April.

  • O'Rourke took a break from the campaign trail this week to remain home in Texas and be with victims of the shootings, while his competitors descended on the Iowa State Fair.
  • He raised $3.6 million in the 2nd quarter of 2019, after pulling in $9.4 million in Q1.
  • O'Rourke's campaign suspended ads and fundraising efforts following the shooting. He is expected to soon return to the trail, possibly later this week.

What they're saying: Former Texas State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh told the Times that O'Rourke's rhetoric in the wake of. the shooting has "crystallized his message in a way that’s been beneficial."

“He’s an emotional guy, that’s how he connects with audiences. I think this tragedy will help him do that around the country.”

Go deeper: O'Rourke says Trump's "bizarre behavior" is a distraction from real problems

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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.

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Beto O'Rourke: Trump's "bizarre behavior" a distraction from real problems

2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that President Trump's "bizarre behavior," including his retweet of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Jeffrey Epstein's death, is a distraction for the American people who want to see real solutions on gun violence and white nationalism.

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O'Rourke on CNN: America's mass shooting epidemic is "f***ed up"

Former Texas Rep. and 2020 Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke continued his crusade in favor of gun control measures on Sunday after his home state experienced yet another mass shooting on Saturday, killing 7 people and injuring more than 20.

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