Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic former congressman from El Paso, officially announced his candidacy for his party's 2020 presidential nomination on Thursday morning, throwing his hat into a crowded ring full of prominent Democrats. He had told local El Paso TV station KTSM he was entering the race in a text message Wednesday night and teased the decision in a new Vanity Fair profile.
O'Rourke rose to national prominence last year during his run to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a race he narrowly lost. He has few big legislative accomplishments to his name and no signature proposal, but his success with raising money through small donations, ability to win over voters at town halls around Texas, and familiarity with the U.S.-Mexico border make him a potentially formidable contender.
"I want to be president because I feel that we can bring this country together," O'Rourke told the El Paso Times. "We can unify around our ambitions, our aspirations, the big things that we know we are capable of when all of us have the opportunity to contribute. ... I just want to serve this country so badly to the highest of my ability, and I believe that is serving as president of the United States."