DES MOINES, Iowa (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Former U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate from Texas, Beto O’Rourke told an El Paso TV station Wednesday he’s running for president and he’s going to make a formal announcement Thursday morning.
“I’m really proud of what El Paso did and what El Paso represents,” O’Rourke reportedly said in the text to KTSM in El Paso. “It’s a big part of why I’m running. This city is the best example of this country at its best.”
O’Rourke will be the second Texan running for president in 2020 as fellow Democrat Julian Castro announced his candidacy in January.
O’Rourke is set to make stops in Burlington, along the Mississippi River in southeast Iowa, and Dubuque, to the north, during his three days in Iowa, according to two people familiar with the plans.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose details of the plans.
A spokesman said Monday, O’Rourke planned to visit the University of Northern Iowa on Saturday to campaign for Eric Giddens, the Democratic candidate running in a state Senate special election this month. O’Rourke released a video Monday night from Texas, announcing his support for Giddens and wearing a University of Northern Iowa cap.
The additional stops in Iowa, host of the first caucuses of the 2020 presidential nominating campaign, have the look of an early presidential visit.
O’Rourke plans to headline a party at the house of Dubuque County Recorder John Murphy on Saturday evening.
“When they show up here, we know why. And it’s not for the climate,” said Dubuque County Democratic Chairman Steve Drahozal. “It seems to me to be indicative of someone with presidential aspirations.”
O’Rourke, who lost a close U.S. Senate race in Texas in November to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, had previously declined to accept invitations to visit Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early nominating states and hasn’t yet made major staffing moves in those places.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)