Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke on Thursday entered the 2020 presidential race and his fundraising prowess and name recognition immediately sent ripples through the campaigns.
Within hours of announcing his intention to run in a video release, the Texas Democrat hit the ground running with a campaign swing through Iowa and got endorsements from four members of Congress.
New York Reps. Kathleen Rice and Sean Patrick Maloney are backing O’Rourke over fellow New Yorker and presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Sen. Kamala Harris, a fellow Democratic candidate, shot off a fundraising email to supporters.
“We are facing something unprecedented: a record number of Democrats,” the California lawmaker said. “I look forward to engaging in substantive debates with each of these candidates, including the newest to join the race today, Beto O’Rourke.”
Speaking to diners at a coffee shop in Keokuk, Iowa, O’Rourke, 46, touted a message of unity and bipartisanship.
“I could care less about your party persuasion, your religion, anything other than the fact that we are all Americans,” he said. “This is democracy.”
At the White House, President Trump weighed in on O’Rourke during an Oval Office meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
“I think he’s got a lot of hand movement,” the president said. “I said, ‘Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?’”
Trump was asked which candidate — O’Rourke or former Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to announce — he would rather face.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Mark Moore and Nikki Schwab