- Beto O’Rourke formally launched his 2020 presidential campaign on Saturday with a series of kickoff rallies in his home state of Texas.
- O’Rourke announced his run earlier in March.
- He has already exhibited strong fundraising skills and an ability to garner national media attention.
Former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke formally launched his 2020 presidential campaign on Saturday, holding several kickoff rallies across his home state of Texas.
Since announcing he will run for president earlier in March, O’Rourke has proven to be a prolific fundraiser with an ability to garner large amounts of attention, putting him in the upper tier of candidates in an increasingly large field of Democrats all vying for the nomination.
O’Rourke held his first kickoff rally El Paso, just near the United States-Mexico border, where surges of migrants have been coming through in recent weeks.
“For too long in this country, the powerful have maintained their privilege at the expense of the powerless,” he said. “Let’s agree: before we are anything else, we are Americans first.”
The kickoff rallies coincided with watch parties the campaign coordinated with O’Rourke’s supporters. According to O’Rourke’s campaign, more than 1,000 livestream watch parties were held in every single state and US territory on Saturday.
O’Rourke also listed a series of policies that would be central to his campaign, including providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, sweeping criminal justice reform, and universal healthcare.
Unlike many in the Democratic field, O’Rourke backs a public option healthcare system in which Americans can participate in Medicare at their own choice. In this system, Americans would be able to keep private and employer-based health insurance.
Further left Democrats like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have backed a “Medicare for all” plan that would put all Americans on Medicare and eliminate private insurance.
While O’Rourke has shown strong fundraising ability, as he did during his failed 2018 Senate campaign, he is still behind in early polling.
O’Rourke polls much higher than most of the 2020 field of Democrats, but candidates like Sanders and the yet to announce former Vice President Joe Biden have produced stronger results in most national polls.
Because of both O’Rourke’s fundraising prowess and strong standing in the polls, he has already met the necessary qualifications to participate in the primary debates set forth by the Democratic National Committee.
But there is still a long way to go in the 2020 race. And O’Rourke has spent the past several weeks of his campaign on the road, looking to boost support, name recognition, and make his case to voters in crucial early primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
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