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Democrat Beto O'Rourke to enter race for White House

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 14, 2019 - Duration: 02:22s

Democrat Beto O'Rourke to enter race for White House

Former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke will seek the Democratic Party presidential nomination to defeat Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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Democrat Beto O'Rourke to enter race for White House

Beto O'Rourke is running for president.

He will announce his bid Thursday, then immediately head to Iowa, which holds one of the first nominating contests for the 2020 race.

The 47-year-old former Texas Congressman failed in his bid for the Senate last November.

But he stunned the national Democratic party with his ability to draw hoards of young voters and raise a massive war chest without the support of big-dollar political action committees.

In election debates against Texas Senator Ted Cruz, he brought a personal passion to Democratic party policies, such as immigration reform.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CONGRESSMAN BETO O'ROURKE, SAYING (SEPTEMBER 21, 2018): "There is no better people than those of us here in this state, Republicans and Democrats, independents alike, the defining border experience, the defining immigrant experience and state, to rewrite our immigration laws in our own image.

But his defining message was one of national unity in the face of divisive politics.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) TEXAS DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE BETO O'ROURKE SAYING (NOVEMBER 6, 2018): We just do not care about the differences between us right now.

We want all of us, Republicans and Democrats, Independents alike to come together and do something great for this country.

O'Rourke grew up in El Paso and studied at Columbia University in New York.

He moved back to Texas, played bass in a rock band, and started a software company.

In 2005, he joined the El Paso city council, and seven years later he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

O'Rourke's age, 46, sets him apart among the big-name potential and declared Democratic candidates.

Elizabeth Warren is 69.

Joe Biden is 76.

Bernie Sanders is 77.

Youthful Democrats may want someone who more relates to them, and perhaps isn't afraid to speak like them.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE BETO O'ROURKE SAYING: "All of you, showing the country how you do this so fucking proud of you guys." But the Democrats may not just want someone young: There's a push from many in the party to elect a woman, and a member of a minority.

And O'Rourke has seemed somewhat adrift since his Senate loss.

He's spoken on campuses and live-streamed a visit to the dentist, and said again and again that he's yet to decide whether to run for president.

Now, he's running.

It's a crowded field in a party that seems to have moved to the left on issues such as universal healthcare.

O'Rourke, in contrast, caucused with centrist Democrats while he served in the U.S. House.

"I'm not big on labels," he told reporters in December, when asked if he were a "progressive." O'Rourke will need to persuade Democrats not just of his ideas, but that he can carry the party to victory over Donald Trump.

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