DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — During his first town hall meeting since his unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate, supporters in El Paso asked Beto O’Rourke to make a run for the White House in 2020.
One man urged the Democrat Congressman to run, saying he was young and fresh.
O’Rourke joked, “Who gave him the microphone?”
It was a light-hearted moment but it cut to the chase.
O’Rourke said he’s focusing on his family and constituents until his term as a Congressman ends January 3. “Then Amy and I will think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community.”
Ever since he came close to unseating Republican Senator Ted Cruz earlier this month, there’s growing sentiment O’Rourke should throw his hat into the race for President.
Miguel Solis, a Democrat and Dallas ISD Trustee, is among those cheering him on.
“When you put a state like Texas in play and on top of that, exponentially grow your face across a nation, which he was able to do this past election, I think it makes you a front-runner to take on a Donald Trump,” said Solis.
Solis said O’Rourke can bring to the political table what other potential Democrat candidates would not: “He has the ability to inspire a new generation that I believe no other candidate does so when you mix people power with this youthful inspiration that potentially has the ability to be a game-changer.”
But SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson disagreed. “It’s a bright, shiny object, a lot of people are talking about it. He ran an exciting race, but I don’t think that’s his best option.”
Jillson said O’Rourke would do better running against U.S. Senator John Cornyn in 2020 because Cornyn isn’t as popular as Cruz among grassroots conservatives.
“So whether or not Cornyn can fire up the base in the way Cruz can, even if he can’t expand the base is an open question. And if O’Rourke can get half the enthusiasm that he generated in 2018, he would run close to Cornyn as well I think.”
But Karen Watson, Vice-Chair of the Dallas County GOP says Texans would not be impressed with O’Rourke if he ran again. “I welcome a rematch with Beto and I wish him well. But he will lose if he tries to run again in the state of Texas.”
Jillson says if O’Rourke decides to run for Senate, he should restart his campaign immediately.
If he runs for President, Jillson said he would have to jump in by early next year.