The trip will serve as the first test of whether O'Rourke can carry to the national political stage the pop-star appeal he showed in Texas previous year, drawing enthusiastic crowds and $80 million in campaign donations.
In running for president, O'Rourke is hoping to leverage the fame he gained with his Senate race in Texas. At the end of the month, on March 30, O'Rourke plans to return to El Paso to kick off his campaign.
In 2012, he won against incumbent Democratic congressmanSilvestre Reyes in a Latino-majority district, and was re-elected twice before giving up his seat to run against Cruz.
He took a well-publicized road trip across the American Southwest, stopping at colleges and diners. He used Instagram and Facebook to stream conversations with people in his neighborhood and life, including a now famous stop at the dentist.
After Cruz defeated O'Rourke, the former congressman revealed that he was mulling over running for president in 2020, despite repeatedly claiming that it was a "definitive no" regarding whether he would run or not. During the same Iowa campaign event, O'Rourke drew criticism from President Donald Trump for his "crazy" hand movements, according to a report from the New York Daily News. During that race, he enjoyed prolific media coverage.
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O'Rourke garnered star power a year ago during his high-profile challenge to Cruz.
The White House run will also prompt greater scrutiny of his policy proposals and track record in Congress. His social media presence and huge fundraising power lifted him from a little-known three-term congressman to a Democratic rockstar with a following that stretched well beyond Texas. But it was Vanity Fair's April cover, released just hours before his announcement, that really kickstarted the 2020 buzz. In an interview for the piece, the former congressman talked about his presidential ambitions.
He added: "I want to be in it". "Man, I'm just born to be in it".
The addition of O'Rourke makes a crowded Democratic field even more crowded, and it will be fascinating to see if he can find a constituency, and where it will come from. O'Rourke will have to make a robust argument about why Democrats should instead back a white man. If I were to run, if I were to win, that my administration looks like this country. "This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us".
"I have nothing to say to that".