Former Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke told an El Paso TV station on Wednesday that he is officially running for president.
The announcement came via text, according to the station. O’Rourke will be competing for the Democratic nomination against nearly 10 others, including Julian Castro, former housing and urban development secretary who hails from San Antonio.
“I’m really proud of what El Paso did and what El Paso represents,” O’Rourke said in the text. “It’s a big part of why I’m running. This city is the best example of this country at its best.”
Previously, O’Rourke ran against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm election and lost by three points, the closest of any statewide race in more than a decade. The race was also the nation’s most expensive U.S. Senate race in history. O’Rourke raised nearly $80 million and spent most of it during his campaign.
O’Rourke said during the race that he would not run for president, but later, after his loss, began traveling around the country to the Midwest, including Wisconsin, to speak with voters.
In the coming days, he will make a series of visits in Iowa, an important early voting state.
The months leading up to his announcement were filled with intense speculation, and he told Oprah Winfrey in a February interview in Times Square that he would make his decision by the end of that month. Then, two weeks ago, he said he and his wife, Amy, had made a decision about how they can ”best serve (their) country” and that they were “excited to share it with everyone soon.”
Experts previously told The Daily Texan that O’Rourke’s best chance at the presidency would be in 2020 rather than launching a second Senate bid, this time against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. He is the upper chamber’s second-highest ranking Republican.