Political reporter says O'Rourke skipping Senate bid for White House run could hurt Dems

Political reporter Eli Yokley said in an interview that aired Thursday on "What America's Thinking" that former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Harris to appear in CNN climate town hall after backlash MORE's (D-Texas) decision to run for president in 2020 instead of for Senate could end up being a negative for Democrats. 

"The biggest negative for Democrats right now is probably Beto O'Rourke deciding not to run for Senate against [Sen. John] Cornyn (R)," Yokley, a political reporter at Morning Consult, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Wednesday. 

"Texas is a hard state. Beto had a pretty good base there. To lose him as a candidate is sort of a loss," he continued.

While O'Rourke ultimately lost his 2018 Senate bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE (R-Texas), the race showed vulnerability for Republicans in the longtime ruby red state. 

O'Rourke was thought to be a candidate to run for Cornyn's seat in 2020, but the former congressman made the decision to join the Democratic Primary race, which is on track to be one of the largest in history. 

O'Rourke has consistently trailed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Giuliani says he discussed Biden with Ukrainian official MORE in Democratic Primary polls.

If O'Rourke ran for Senate in 2020, it would likely increase Democrats' chances at taking back the upper chamber. They would have to pick up four seats to flip the Senate and seem to have a more favorable map than in 2018 when they lost seats overall.

— Julia Manchester