The Dallas Morning News reports Beto O’Rourke is poised to jump into the 2020 race for the White House after deciding not to run for the Senate seat held by John Cornyn:
Beto O’Rourke has decided not to run for Senate next year against Republican incumbent John Cornyn and likely will announce a campaign for president soon, confidants close to the former El Paso congressman told The Dallas Morning News Wednesday.
Numerous people close to O’Rourke said they expect him to announce his presidential campaign within weeks. For his own part, O’Rourke on Wednesday wouldn’t reveal his future political plans except to say he has made up his mind.
“Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country,” he said in an exclusive statement to The Dallas Morning News. “We are excited to share it with everyone soon.”…
On Feb. 5, he discussed his future with Oprah Winfrey, telling her that he has “been thinking about running for president.”
“We want to play as great a role as possible making sure that this country lives up to our expectations, to the promise, to the potential that we all know her to have,” he told Winfrey in front of an audience in New York City’s Times Square.
It’s really not that hard to see why Beto doesn’t want to be part of a repeat of the loss he just suffered. After all, how is it supposed to work out better? He had massive national media support, financial support, and he was running against someone in Sen. Cruz who is universally reviled on the left and even unpopular among many on the right. And yet, he lost by about three points.
A repeat of that race in 2020 against Cornyn would not spark the same national interest and would not go as well as the race against Cruz. And losing a second time would put an end to his marketability as the fresh new face of the party.
So why not just go for it?
If he runs on a national stage he could excite the party and build his national brand. And even if he’s not top tier, his ability to appeal to Hispanics could make him a potential VP choice for someone else in the race. As long as he doesn’t embarrass himself on the national stage, he comes out of it with a bigger national profile than he does now. There’s lots of potential for upside.
Still, he’s a real longshot in the race and I think he’s going to discover that running against other Democrats is a bit different than running against Ted Cruz. The media wind will not be at his back the way it was last year. There will be other, more credible, candidates taking in donations. It’ll be a real test to see whether he can still impress people apart from the cloud of hype that surrounded him in 2018.