WASHINGTON - Beto O'Rourke, the youthful Texan who gained a national following with his long-shot election battle against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz previous year, told a Texas TV station on Wednesday he will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
After months of speculation, O'Rourke formally announced on Thursday that he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump.
O'Rourke, 46, is kicking off his campaign with a three-day trip through Eastern Iowa, where he will sell his vision of national unity to the country's first Democratic primary voters.
O'Rourke has staked out opposition to Trump and the Republican Party on issues likeimmigrationandracial justice, although he's at times also lent ambiguous support to progressive priorities like theGreen New DealandMedicare for All.
Many Texas Democrats hoped O'Rourke would sit out the presidential race and run against Sen. O'Rourke lost the Senate race by less than 3 percentage points. In an encouraging sign, however, a third of respondents said they did not know enough about him to have an opinion.
"The reason why I think I'm the best candidate for the presidency is very different than his", New York Sen.
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Still, he picked up several congressional endorsements on Thursday, as well as the backing of Iowa state Rep. Brian Meyer, who serves as an assistant minority leader in the state House of Representatives.
Klobuchar was not the only 2020 candidate to welcome O'Rourke on Thursday.
O'Rourke, whose given name is Robert Francis, acquired his nickname while growing up in El Paso, Texas.
"I think it's significant that we have someone from the border running for president", Vela said.
In 2012, he won against incumbent Democratic congressman Silvestre Reyes in a Latino-majority district, and was re-elected twice before giving up his seat to run against Cruz.