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Democratic Strategists Launch Draft Beto PAC

But Texas progressives want him to run for statewide office again instead of president

Progressive fever around Rep. Beto O'Rourke shows no sign of waning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Progressive fever around Rep. Beto O'Rourke shows no sign of waning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic strategists have launched a “Draft Beto 2020” political action committee just days after the Texas congressman first signaled he would be open to a presidential run — the latest sign that the hype around the up-and-comer has not waned since his Election Day defeat.

During his unsuccessful Senate race, O’Rourke vowed that “win or lose” he would not consider a White House bid, but the Texas congressman shifted his position at a town hall in El Paso on Monday. 

On Wednesday night, Democratic strategists Lauren Pardi, Will Herberich and Adam Webster launched a website aimed at encouraging O’Rourke to launch a presidential campaign. The group plans to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to formally organize the PAC before the end of the year, CNN reported.

Despite his loss to Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke’s upstart campaign attracted high-profile admirers, including former President Barack Obama, who referred to O’Rourke an “impressive young man.”

He also shattered fundraising records while refusing donations from corporate PACs, piquing the interest of influential Democratic Party bundlers. 

The Democratic operatives — all based in New England —praised O’Rourke’s ability to turn out new voters with a campaign rooted in issues like “access to a good job and quality, affordable healthcare,” women’s rights, civil rights and diversity.

“This is exactly the type of campaign Democrats need to run nationally in 2020,” they wrote

Meanwhile, some Texas political observers have urged the O’Rourke to stay out of the presidential fray and try again instead to flip a statewide seat, pushing him to run against the state’s other senator, Republican John Cornyn, in 2020. 

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