Beto O’Rourke announces bid for president

U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke campaigns at Bert Ogden Arena on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

Four months after losing a bid for U.S. Senate, Beto O’Rourke on Thursday morning announced in a video that he is running for president.

“This is a defining moment of truth for this country, and for every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in a video announcement posted on his Facebook page earlier this morning.

Speculation that O’Rourke would run for president began shortly after the former El Paso congressman lost November’s midterm election to Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz by 2.6 percent, the closest a Democrat has come to winning a Senate seat in Texas in decades. National Democrats were attracted to O’Rourke’s record-breaking $80 million raised during his campaign, compared to Cruz’s $37 million, also a record.

O’Rourke, who visited the Rio Grande Valley 10 times during his Senate campaign, spent recent months at home in El Paso with family, driving through the midwest and journaling about it online, and making a few public appearances, such as a Metallica concert and leading a rally outside a President Trump rally in El Paso. The week O’Rourke lost the Senate race, President Obama called to congratulate him, and to invite O’Rourke to sit down and talk, if O’Rourke was interested. 

“I raised it with — ‘Some people who I really respect have asked me to think about running for president,’” O’Rourke said in a Vanity Fair interview. “He asked about: What will this do to my family? Is this the right thing for the country? Do I see a path to win? Do I see something that I uniquely can provide, for what the country needs right now?”

O’Rourke’s path begins in Iowa this weekend, where he’ll campaign for local candidates and visit surrounding counties.