Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) on Wednesday rebuffed the notion that his chances of clinching the Democratic presidential nomination have narrowed, insisting that there’s still time for him to turn his primary prospects around.
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“The biggest misconception about me, given where we are in the polls today, is that our chances have narrowed and diminished in this race,” O’Rourke said at a presidential forum hosted by the NAACP.
O’Rourke pointed to his run for Congress in 2012, when he defeated eight-term incumbent Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) in a primary and his near-miss in his 2018 Texas Senate race against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R) as evidence that he’s capable of turning around his political fortunes.
For all the fanfare that surrounded O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate bid and initial presidential campaign announcement, the former Texas congressman has seen his political stock fall in recent months.
His polling numbers have routinely hovered in the low single digits, and his most recent fundraising report showed that he raised only $3.6 million in the second quarter of 2019 — a fraction of the $9.3 million he raised in the first two weeks of his campaign.
O’Rourke’s allies argue that it’s still early in the primary season and the former congressman has a history of overcoming long odds. What’s more, O’Rourke has already qualified for the Democratic debates this fall, making it likely that he will remain in the race for several more months, at least.
“We have been a long shot before, counted down before, but through our persistence and our courage, I know that we can come through for the American people and serve this great country,” O’Rourke said on Wednesday.