Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke seizes on Texas power grid in bid against Abbott McConaughey on Texas run: 'I will let you know shortly' O'Rourke raises M in first 24 hours of Texas governor campaign MORE (D-Texas) sought to quash any speculation that he could end his presidential campaign and run for Senate instead, saying that he would not "in any scenario" run for a seat in the upper chamber.
"I will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate,” O'Rourke said on MSNBC Thursday. "I'm running for president. I'm running for this country. I'm taking this fight directly to Donald Trump and that is what I am exclusively focused on doing right now."
O'Rourke's comments come as he seeks to breathe new life into his stagnating presidential campaign. O’Rourke electrified Texas Democrats and rose to national prominence by nearly unseating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in 2018, but the former congressman has struggled to gain traction since entering the crowded Democratic presidential primary field in March.
He recently reentered the national spotlight after the Aug. 3 mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, that left 22 people dead. O'Rourke took a 12-day break from the campaign trail to return to El Paso, where he has been meeting with families of victims and residents in El Paso since the shooting.
The Houston Chronicle on Saturday called on O'Rourke to end his presidential campaign and run for Senate instead, after he gave a passionate answer to a reporter about what President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE could do to prevent mass shootings.
"What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying," O'Rourke said of the president. "He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f---?" The response quickly went viral.
The paper's editorial board wrote that his answer "made us wish O’Rourke would shift gears, and rather than unpause his presidential campaign, we’d like to see him take a new direction."
Calls for the O'Rourke to drop out and challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have intensified as his presidential run has struggled for traction.
A RealClearPolitics average of polls has O'Rourke in sixth place in the crowded field of Democratic White House hopefuls with a polling average of 2 percent.