Former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) sought to quash any speculation that he could end his presidential campaign and run for Senate instead, saying that he would not “in any scenario” run for a seat in the upper chamber.
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“I will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate,” O’Rourke said on MSNBC Thursday. “I’m running for president. I’m running for this country. I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump and that is what I am exclusively focused on doing right now.”
BREAKING NEWS: @BetoORourke explains to @Lawrence why he “will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate.” #lastword #msnbc pic.twitter.com/yQgK9015xt
— The Last Word (@TheLastWord) August 16, 2019
O’Rourke’s comments come as he seeks to breathe new life into his stagnating presidential campaign. O’Rourke electrified Texas Democrats and rose to national prominence by nearly unseating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in 2018, but the former congressman has struggled to gain traction since entering the crowded Democratic presidential primary field in March.
He recently reentered the national spotlight after the Aug. 3 mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, that left 22 people dead. O’Rourke took a 12-day break from the campaign trail to return to El Paso, where he has been meeting with families of victims and residents in El Paso since the shooting.
The Houston Chronicle on Saturday called on O’Rourke to end his presidential campaign and run for Senate instead, after he gave a passionate answer to a reporter about what President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE could do to prevent mass shootings.
“What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying,” O’Rourke said of the president. “He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the f—?” The response quickly went viral.
The paper’s editorial board wrote that his answer “made us wish O’Rourke would shift gears, and rather than unpause his presidential campaign, we’d like to see him take a new direction.”
Calls for the O’Rourke to drop out and challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) have intensified as his presidential run has struggled for traction.
A RealClearPolitics average of polls has O’Rourke in sixth place in the crowded field of Democratic White House hopefuls with a polling average of 2 percent.