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Beto O'Rourke Is Running For President, Ending Months Of Speculation

Beto O'Rourke addresses supporters in El Paso on election night in November.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Beto O'Rourke addresses supporters in El Paso on election night in November.

Former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke is running for president, he announced in a video with his wife, Amy.

"Amy and I are happy to share with you that I'm running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America," O'Rourke said in the video, released early Thursday morning. "This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us."

You can watch his announcement  below:

"The challenges that we face right now — the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate, have never been greater," O'Rourke said. "And they will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America."

The Democrat touched on affordable health care, immigration, rural America, justice reform, the military and American foreign policy in the 3-and-a-half minute video. 

"This is going to be a positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best in every single one of us," O'Rourke said, announcing a March 30 campaign kickoff in El Paso. He said he will be traveling the country over the coming days for a listening tour. 

Ending his announcement video in momentous terms, O'Rourke said, "We are truly now, more than ever, the last great hope of Earth. At this moment of maximum peril and maximum potential, let's show ourselves and those who will succeed us in this great country just who we are what we can do." 

O'Rourke narrowly lost a U.S. Senate seat to Ted Cruz last year. 

The possibility of O’Rourke running has been the subject of a lot of speculation after his challenge to Cruz last year. That race was one of the most closely watched races in the country during what was a particularly energized midterm election.

It was also one of the most expensive races. O’Rourke raised more than $80 million in his bid to oust Cruz.

His fundraising prowess, as well as his ability to engage younger voters and communities of color in Texas, garnered national attention for O’Rourke throughout his campaign.

O’Rourke’s impressive campaign apparatus – which comprised hundreds of staff and volunteers across the state – eventually led to an impressive showing on election night. O’Rourke lost to Cruz by a mere 2.6 percentage points. It was the closest a Democrat had come to winning a Senate seat in Texas in more than two decades.

During the race, O’Rourke had said he was not interested in running for president, but after his loss in November, he said he was seriously considering it.

With his announcement, O’Rourke is now joining more than a dozen Democrats who have also announced they are seeking their party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential election. That includes U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker and Bernie Sanders, among others.

This post has been updated. 

Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
Andy Jechow is the audience engagement editor for KUT News. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter at @AndyJechow.
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