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'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race 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 CruzOvernight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Lies, damned lies and impeachable lies Conservatives rip FBI over IG report: 'scathing indictment' 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 SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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