Beto O’Rourke makes 2020 White House bid official with wee-hours announcement

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Beto’s in for 2020.

Three-term Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, noted for his Bobby Kennedy resemblance, Jack Kerouac-style road trips, stream-of-consciousness ramblings and an oh-so-close bid to topple Texas Sen. Ted Cruz last year, ended months of speculation by announcing a White House bid in a video he sent to supporters sometime in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

“Amy and I are happy to share with you that I’m running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America,” O’Rourke said. “This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us. The challenges we face right now, the interconnected crises in our democracy and our climate, have never been greater.”

O’Rourke narrowly lost to Cruz — by just more than 200,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast. After his better-than-expected performance against the GOP incumbent, there were immediate calls by some Democrats for O’Rourke to run for president.

After saying days after the November elections that “I will not be a candidate for president in 2020,” O’Rourke quickly changed his tune, explaining that “I haven’t made any decisions about anything yet.”

By mid-December, he acknowledged at a town hall that he was considering a White House run.

Two national groups urging O’Rourke to launch a campaign sprung up just weeks after the 2018 midterms. In the ensuing months, the groups held house parties and other events in the early voting primary and caucus states as they built up lists of O’Rourke supporters.

In early January, with Beto mania at a fever pitch, O’Rourke live-streamed a visit to his dentist, which while going viral was also greeted with plenty of derision on social media.

In a much anticipated early February interview with Oprah Winfrey, O’Rourke said he’d make a 2020 decision “really soon… before the end of this month.”

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