O’Rourke says he will make 2020 decision by end of February
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) says he’ll make a decision about running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 by the end of February.
In a Tuesday interview with Oprah Winfrey, clips of which were obtained by several news outlets, O’Rourke said he’s been “thinking” about running for the White House, but added that his decision will hinge on what’s best for his family.
“The serious answer is really soon, before the end of this month,” O’Rourke reportedly said during an appearance on “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square.”
“I have been thinking about running for president,” the former congressman added, according to The Texas Tribune. “I want to make sure that we’re all good with this. … For me, it will really be family.”
O’Rourke has been mostly silent about his considerations for the White House. And in a recent Politico story, he said that a decision about 2020 could still be months away.
His appearance with Winfrey, who has a massive following and has generated her own White House buzz, gives him a national platform to reintroduce himself as he remains relatively quiet unlike other potential White House hopefuls.
O’Rourke became a household name in Democratic politics when he came within a few points of defeating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in deep-red Texas last year. After his 2018 Senate campaign, he was quickly floated as a 2020 contender with the hopes of converting the energy surrounding his Senate bid into a White House run.
But the former congressman has frustrated some Democrats with his silence on a presidential run, fading from the conversation as more candidates jump into the 2020 race. He’s embarked on a solo tour, shying away from early primary states.
Still, even as he mostly stays on the sidelines, allies have been defending his decision to take his time and arguing that it underscores his persona as a political outsider. Groups like Draft Beto has been building an infrastructure and raising money behind the scenes, with the hopes of handing off their operation to the official campaign—should he run.
If he decides to run, O’Rourke will enter a growing field of Democrats that already includes Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Those candidates have already made numerous trips to early caucus and primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. And they’ve scooped up talent—many who are alumni of past Democratic presidential campaigns—to work with them.
The early announcements also give them an early advantage with tapping individual donors for money. Plus, many of the announced senators have stockpiled millions of dollars in their Senate accounts that they can use for their presidential campaigns.
But O’Rourke, who raised close to $80 million in his Senate campaign, will likely have few issues when it comes to fundraising. His record haul was powered by small-dollar donors that have also buoyed Trump. But since he spent nearly all of it on his 2018 campaign, he has only $286,000 left to use for a future campaign.