Donald Trump's first reaction to Beto O'Rourke's 2020 campaign launch on Thursday had nothing to do with what the former Texas congressman said - because the president didn't hear a word of it.
O'Rourke plans to follow his announcement with a trip to Iowa, the state that will hold the first Democratic nominating contest in February 2020.
When the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll was first run in December, O'Rourke placed third, the top choice of 11 percent.
His social media presence and enormous fundraising power lifted him from a little-known three-term congressman to a Democratic rockstar with a following that stretched well beyond Texas. "It's a big part of why I'm running".
O'Rourke, whose given name is Robert Francis, as a child acquired his nickname "Beto", a common shortening of "Roberto" for Spanish speakers.
Beyond a previously announced event in Waterloo, Iowa on Saturday, O'Rourke is expected to visit other towns in eastern Iowa, traditionally a Democratic stronghold, Politico said.
O'Rourke premised much of his appeal in the Senate race on his refusal to accept money from political action committees, and instead raised $80 million from small-dollar donors, a national record for a Senate bid.
In 2018 speculation began that Mr O'Rourke may decide to run after his campaign for the US Senate proved his worth.
"This moment of peril produces, perhaps, the greatest moment of promise for this country", he said in the video which was posted on the El Paso Times website.
Those who have already announced include Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Representative Tulsi Gabbard and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
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