O'Rourke nabs 2020 endorsement from his successor in Congress

O'Rourke nabs 2020 endorsement from his successor in Congress
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Rep. Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarHistoric immigration reform included in House-passed spending bill Democrats call on Biden to sanction climate change contributors Progressives see infrastructure vote next week MORE (D-Texas) on Thursday endorsed 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, whom she replaced as El Paso's representative in the House, for president.

"We have not had a presidential election this important in my lifetime. Our country is at an historic crossroads, and if we continue on this reckless path, we all have much to lose," Escobar said in a statement.

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O'Rourke told a Texas TV station on Wednesday that he intends to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, making it official on Thursday morning in a campaign video.

Escobar and O'Rourke have long ties. They were both part of a group of young El Paso Democrats who rose through the party's ranks, taking over key county and legislative seats and at the time butting with establishment leaders.

O'Rourke was elected to his first of three terms in the House after a tough primary challenge against eight-term Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), with Escobar serving as his communications director.

"I have endorsed Beto O’Rourke in every election he’s run — including this exciting run for President of the United States — because he is an extraordinary public servant, driven by compassion and a desire to unify," said Escobar.

Both Escobar and O'Rourke have been outspoken voices for border communities, particularly El Paso, and have pushed back against claims that the region is unsafe and needs tougher security.

"He is a son of the border, and during an era of unprecedented racist attacks on safe, secure communities like ours, I am grateful that he consistently stands up to the xenophobia and bigotry that has driven the ugliest of political debates," said Escobar. "It is that kind of courage that we need today, now more than ever."

Escobar was El Paso County judge — an executive position akin to county manager — before running to replace O'Rourke.

O'Rourke ran an unsuccessful challenge against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProposal to move defense bill running into new GOP objections GOP anger with Fauci rises Senate nearing deal on defense bill after setback MORE (R-Texas) in 2018.