O'Rourke and his team shot a video released Monday to promote an Iowa Democrat running in a state Senate special election and O'Rourke will go to the state this weekend to participate in a get-out-the-vote event.
Aides to O'Rourke have continued to remain tight-lipped about the Democrat's future plans, but the upcoming travel is the clearest signal yet that a presidential candidacy is in the works. Ted Cruz during the 2018 midterm elections. A recurring theme emerged, according to people familiar with the conversations, with O'Rourke saying he would only seek the Democratic nomination "if he could be himself" and run an unconventional campaign similar to his Senate bid where he is able to meet directly with voters.
However the trip to Iowa this weekend comes as O'Rourke appears to have lost early ground against his potential Democratic rivals.
O'Rourke is not the only 2020 contender slated to drum up enthusiasm for Giddens, who is running against former GOP state Rep. Walt Rogers.
Officials said O'Rourke plans to headline a party at the house of Dubuque County Recorder John Murphy on Saturday evening. Sterzenbach, Tewes and multiple advisers close to O'Rourke did not respond to requests for comment.
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The developments underscore how quickly O'Rourke - a little-known congressman before he raised $80 million in his Senate run against Cruz - is assembling a national team, something other candidates spent much of a year ago preparing to do.
Sterzenbach's departure sparked speculation that he might join O'Rourke's campaign.
O'Rourke said two weeks ago that he had made a decision about a 2020 run and would share it with supporters soon.
Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke is planning a series of stops in Iowa beginning Thursday as he nears an announcement on a 2020 White House bid.
His unorthodox and ultimately unsuccessful Senate campaign, which shunned traditional strategists and instead relied on the candidate's organic appeal, broke fundraising records and earned O'Rourke a national profile that catapulted him into the presidential discussion. "We just want to continue to be a part of it".