Major Obama 2008 fundraiser throws support behind Beto 2020: ‘Time to pass the torch’

One of former President Obama’s major fundraisers during his 2008 campaign has vowed to raise money for Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke if he runs in 2020.

Chicago financier Louis Susman said he is encouraging O’Rourke, a rising Democratic star who narrowly lost a Senate race to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHere's why Biden, Bernie and Beto are peaking O'Rourke taps former Obama aide as campaign manager Nunes on Mueller report: 'We can just burn it up' MORE (R-Texas), to run against President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos claims he was pressured to sign plea deal Tlaib asking colleagues to support impeachment investigation resolution Trump rips 'Mainstream Media': 'They truly are the Enemy of the People' MORECNN reported Friday.


Susman has served as one of the Democratic Party’s most prolific fundraisers, previously working as the finance chairman for John KerryJohn Forbes KerryJam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Biden leads CNN poll, but Harris, Sanders on the rise MORE’s 2004 presidential run.

He later went on to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom under the Obama administration.

"It's time to pass the torch to a new generation,”  Susman told CNN. "I have nothing against the Bidens and Kerrys of the world and all of these senators that are looking at it, but I think the Beto example is what inspired people and what we are going to need."

O’Rourke is considered one of the top Democratic White House contenders for 2020, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Tuesday.

The outgoing Texas congressman ranked third in the poll, behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenHere's why Biden, Bernie and Beto are peaking The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings Buttigieg shows signs of emerging from the Democratic pack MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHere's why Biden, Bernie and Beto are peaking Senate gears up for Green New Deal vote Overnight Energy: Green New Deal vote set to test Dem unity | Renewables on track to phase out coal, study finds | EPA chief reportedly recuses himself from mine review MORE (I-Vt.)

O’Rourke said firmly during his Senate campaign that he would not mount a presidential run in 2020 but has recently indicated he might be open to it.

“Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out,” O’Rourke told reporters after a town hall in El Paso, Texas, referring to his wife.

He also met with Obama at the former commander in chief’s office in Washington D.C.

Obama has called O'Rourke an “impressive young man" in a recent interview with “The Axe Files” podcast, hosted by Obama's former strategist, David Axelrod.

“It felt as if he based his statements and his positions on what he believed,” Obama said of O'Rourke's Senate campaign. “And that, you'd like to think, is normally how things work. Sadly it's not.”