IOWA (CBSDFW.COM) — Texas native Beto O’Rourke took to Twitter Friday to announce his removal from the 2020 presidential race.
In a tweet posted Nov. 1, O’Rourke said his service to the country will not be as a Democratic candidate or nominee.
Our campaign has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively.
In that spirit: I am announcing that my service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. https://t.co/8jrBPGuX4t
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 1, 2019
Despite the news, O’Rourke shared how grateful he is to all “who made up the heart and soul of this campaign.”
You were among the hundreds of thousands who made a donation, signed up to volunteer or spread the word about this campaign and our opportunity to help decide the election of our lifetime.
Let us continue to fearlessly champion the issues and causes that brought us together. Whether it is ending the epidemic of gun violence or dismantling structural racism or successfully confronting climate change, we will continue to organize and mobilize and act.
Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan said she was surprised that O’Rourke dropped out now.
“I thought he was going to hang in there a little longer,” said Donovan.
But she said she doesn’t expect him to step away from politics permanently. “Beto is not going away. He is too popular, especially in Texas. He has too many fans. There’s too many fans, there’s too many people who are going to encourage him to keep on going.”
One thing Donovan said she doesn’t expect O’Rourke to do is enter the U.S. Senate race.
“Primarily because he was emphatic that he was not going to do that, and he assured the current U.S. Senate candidates that he would not do that,” she said.
The former Texas Congressman was one of the bigger voices on gun violence in the race after his hometown of El Paso fell victim to a mass shooting that claimed the lives of 22 civilians.
When the news broke on the shooting, he was at a candidate forum in Las Vegas. He shortly cancelled his prison tour visit to California’s San Quentin State Prison to return home to be with his family.
O’Rourke was urged to run for president by many Democrats, including supporters of former President Barack Obama, who were energized by his narrow Senate loss last year in Texas, a reliably Republican state. He raised a record $80 million from donors across the country, visited every county in Texas and used social media and live streaming video to engage directly with voters. He ultimately lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by 3 percentage points.
But O’Rourke, 47, struggled to replicate that model in the presidential primary, and both his polling and his fundraising dwindled significantly in recent months.
“We have to clearly see, at this point, that we did not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully and that my service will not be as a candidate, nor as a nominee of this party for the presidency,” O’Rourke said.
During his brief tweet spree, O’Rourke also said that he will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating President Donald Trump.
We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020. I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever she or he is.
Thank you for making this campaign possible, and for continuing to believe that we can turn this moment of great peril into a moment of great promise for America and the world.
President Trump has since commented on O’Rourke’s resignation:
Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was “born for this.” I don’t think so!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019