Beto O’Rourke is back “in it,” as they say, planning to return to the campaign trail on Thursday after a well-justified break from the presidential race to mourn the victims of the horrific mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso.
But does the 2020 campaign still need Beto? According to Beto, yes. According to uh, pretty much everyone else... not really!
His numbers haven’t budged in the most recently released national polls. The latest Morning Consult poll, released Tuesday, put O’Rourke at 3 percent nationally, about the same position he held before pausing his campaign and returning to El Paso, Texas, following the shooting that left 22 people dead at a Walmart there.
But O’Rourke has never expressed interest in running for Senate this year, after his near-miss loss to Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. The El Paso massacre only redoubled his resolve to campaign against Trump, according to sources close to his campaign, while persistent calls for him to run for Senate exasperated his supporters.
O’Rourke’s response to the massacre was laudable; he took a stronger stand against President Trump’s rhetoric than most of his peers. In Texas, at least, O’Rourke is still a strong politician and candidate, which a pretty large, vocal group following his campaign have recognized means he should probably just run for Senate.
Will O’Rourke do so? Not yet, that’s for sure! As the New York Times reported:
“I’m running for president,” he said firmly, when asked to respond to those pushing a Senate bid. “This community holds so much for the rest of the country. Whether it’s immigration, whether it’s our safety, whether it’s our connection to the rest of the world, whether it’s the fact that we’re on the front line of so many issues that can and will define America.”
Over the weekend, the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board published a much-cited op-ed literally begging O’Rourke to refocus on Texas. The editorial noted that O’Rourke is at his best when delivering unvarnished, emotional responses to national events, something that failed to shine through in his campaign until the tragedy in El Paso.
“So Beto, if you’re listening: Come home. Drop out of the race for president and come back to Texas to run for senator. The chances of winning the race you’re in now are vanishingly small. And Texas needs you,” the editorial concluded.
Beto still has until December 9, the filing deadline for the 2020 Senate race, to come around. But for now, he seems to be committed to continuing his fool’s errand to become president.