Beto O'Rourke, the outgoing El Paso Congressman who mounted a strong but unsuccessful insurgent campaign to oust Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, reportedly met with former President Barack Obama amid speculation he is mulling a presidential bid in 2020.
According to The Washington Post, Obama held a meeting with O'Rourke in his post-presidency offices in Washington last month. Although O'Rourke told before Election Day that, win or lose, he would not run for office in 2020, the progressive Texas congressman two weeks ago and did not rule out a future bid.
During a town hall in his border district in late November, O'Rourke said he and his wife will "think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community" after his third congressional term concludes in January.
Many Democratic operatives and donors are encouraging O'Rourke to launch a presidential campaign and challenge President Trump in 2020. If he does, the Texas lawmaker is expected to enter a crowded field of Democratic contenders hoping to energize the liberal opposition to the Trump administration and retake the White House.
Possible candidates include former Vice President Joe Biden; senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren; former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro; Bay Area Rep. Eric Swalwell; and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. A number of other Democrats have also suggested that they are considering a bid.
O'Rourke's robust, unabashedly liberal senate bid in deep-red Texas — along with his Obama-esque oratory prowess on the campaign trail — catapulted him to national fame this year. Although he failed to unseat Cruz, O'Rourke galvanized a broad electoral coalition in Texas, including the state's large and growing Latino community, and lost by less than three percentage points.
In a fiery speech following his Election Day defeat, O'Rourke told his ardent supporters, "I love you more than words can express. And that love will persist every single day going forward, making sure that whatever we have created and whatever we have changed — and all of us will decide what that means and how far it goes — that it leads to something far greater than what we have today."
"We will see you out there down the road," he added.