Beto O'Rourke will not challenge John Cornyn: Likely to announce presidential bid soon


Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) is not running for Senate again but likely will announce a presidential bid soon, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday, citing sources close to O'Rourke.

Several people close to O'Rourke told the newspaper that he probably will launch a presidential campaign in the next few weeks as Democrats gear up to take on President Trump in 2020.

"Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country," O'Rourke said in a statement to The Dallas Morning News. "We are excited to share it with everyone soon."

O'Rourke has been eyed as a potential top Democratic contender for 2020 after amassing a big social media following during his race against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last year.

The former Congressman came within 3 percentage points of winning, having raised more than $70 million, mostly from small donors.

O'Rourke previously had said he would make a decision on whether to run for President by the end of the month.

He also had said he was considering running for Senate again against Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and met with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) about a potential bid.

O'Rourke would join a crowded — and diverse — Democratic race for the presidential nomination, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Former Vice President Joe Biden also has indicated he's almost certain to run, though he has yet to make an announcement.

A Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll released this week showed Biden leading the field of potential Democratic contenders, followed by Sanders and Harris, who placed second and third, respectively.

O'Rourke came in at fourth, with 6 percent support.

The 46-year-old, little known nationally until his Texas Senate run last year, has inspired aides and allies of former President Obama, who say they could support him if he decides to run for president in 2020.

He also likely would be able to raise money quickly, tapping into the small donor base that fueled his Texas Senate run, a major consideration after Sanders raised $6 million in the 24 hours following his presidential bid announcement.

But O'Rourke also has attracted grumblings for his overreliance on social media, including livestreaming a dentist appointment, and for taking so long to make a decision on a presidential run.
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