Beto O’Rourke drops White House bid

Former U.S. Representative from Texas Beto O'Rourke announced in a tweet Friday he would be dropping out of the presidential race.


Katie Goodale

Beto O'Rourke sits down for an interview with Daily Iowan staff in the IMU on April 7, 2019. O'Rourke will be running for the democratic nomination for president.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

On the night of the Liberty and Justice dinner, one of the largest Iowa Democratic events of the year, Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced he would drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president. 

“Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” O’Rourke wrote in a post on Medium. “My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.”

“I decided to run for President because I believed that I could help bring a divided country together in common cause to confront the greatest set of challenges we’ve ever faced,” the statement went on to say, citing his climate change proposal, gun reform plan, direct harsh rhetoric toward Donald Trump, election-reform, and his campaign’s ban on PAC donation money as proud moments he had of his campaign.

O’Rourke supporters lined the streets of Des Moines Friday for several hours ahead of the Liberty and Justice Dinner, an annual event put on by the Iowa Democratic Party. This year, Democratic-nomination candidates are invited, and campaigns compete to show their strength in numbers and to rouse enthusiasm from core Democratic Party members. 

In January of this year, O’Rourke fans held a “Draft Beto” event to encourage the former Senate candidate from Texas to enter the widening Democratic field. Unaffiliated with O’Rourke himself, the event was a signal of high expectations for the former representative to emerge in the top tier of Democratic-nomination candidates.

O’Rourke entered the campaign after garnering national attention for launching a narrowly unsuccessful campaign against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz — losing by 2.6 percentage points. During this campaign he visited all of Texas’ 254 counties and raised more than $80 million in campaign contributions. Iowans donated approximately $18,000 to his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission data.

In August, a mass shooting in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso drew O’Rourke off the campaign trail to be with survivors and community members, missing some campaign stops ,such as the Iowa State Fair.

He returned the campaign after a couple weeks with an agenda focused on explicit proposals on restricting guns. At the Polk County Steakfry in September, O’Rourke’s campaign showed up with giant letters that spelled “hell yes,” referencing what he said during the Sept. 12 Democratic presidential debate when he said “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15’s.”

This is breaking news coverage and will be updated throughout the night.


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