Beto O’Rourke announced Thursday he is running for president, entering the 2020 race with a call for Americans to look past their differences in order to confront the challenges facing the country.
“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” the 46-year-old Democratic former congressman from Texas said in a video announcing his candidacy. “The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater.”
“They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America,” he added.
O’Rourke, who is starting a three-day swing through eastern Iowa on Thursday, said he will hold a kick-off rally for his campaign in El Paso, Texas, on March 30.
His entrance into the race is the culmination of his two-year, out-of-nowhere rise from a back-bench congressman largely unknown outside El Paso to Democratic stardom as a record-breaking fundraiser, the subject of an HBO documentary and the target of two separate efforts to draft him into the presidential campaign. He joins a crowded field of more than a dozen Democrats vying for the party’s nomination.