O'Rourke says he can 'do a better job' communicating 2020 message

O'Rourke says he can 'do a better job' communicating 2020 message
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) admitted Monday night that he “can do a better job” of conveying his presidential campaign message in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate Primary debates haven't asked candidates about sexual harassment policies in over 20 years: report 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the first Democratic showdown MORE.

O’Rourke told Maddow he was aware of the need to broaden his message to resonate nationally, beyond the local events in early primary states he has mostly participated in.

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“I have an opportunity to answer your questions, Rachel, and address those who may not have been able to attend them and make sure that they can hear what this campaign is about and how I answer the questions that are put to me,” he said. “So I hope that I’m continuing to do better over time.”

Since his announcement, O’Rourke has found limited success standing out in the crowded Democratic field, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Hickenlooper laughs off lack of recognition by security guard at Democratic debate MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates MORE (I-Vt.) leading in nearly every poll, particularly since Biden’s formal announcement on April 25. O’Rourke has made recent efforts to up his national media profile, with an appearance on “The View” scheduled for Tuesday as well as a CNN town hall in Iowa slated for later in May.

O’Rourke also argued, however, that his candidacy could put Texas, considered solidly red in the electoral college, in play for Democrats in 2020. “Texas and its 38 Electoral College votes have been unlocked,” he told Maddow. “They are in contention, and we will have a seat at the table.”

As part of his expanded strategy, O’Rourke held his first major fundraiser in New York Monday night, according to NBC News, and plans a second Tuesday in Houston followed by a third in Chicago in June. Expanding his message, he told Maddow, “will take a lot of time, a lot of miles. A lot of hours … but I’m willing to put in the work. And so far we have, and I’m very pleased with the results.”