The Possibility of a Presidential Run by Beto O’Rourke Has Democratic Donors in a Holding Pattern

Democratic donors are waiting to hand out support for the 2020 presidential election until hearing their options, Politico reports, with many hoping to send Beto O’Rourke to the White House.

Mikal Watts, a San Antonio lawyer and major Democratic money bundler, told Politico several donors who heard from other presidential hopefuls have called asking if O’Rourke was running.

“They’re not wanting to sign on to other presidential campaigns until they know whether Beto is going,” Watts told Politico. “And if Beto is running, what good progressive Democrat wouldn’t want to work for Beto O’Rourke?”

The Texas progressive made headlines for his charismatic senatorial campaign before the 2018 midterms. While he amassed a surprising amount of support for a Democrat in one of the country’s reddest states, in the end O’Rourke lost to incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz by roughly 2 percentage points.

Now supporters are pushing him to bid for the presidency: a Politico/Morning Consult poll published last week showed O’Rourke is one of the top three leaders for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination, behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent.

Whether O’Rourke, a father of three, wants to head towards the White House is another story. Prior to the midterms, he said he would not run for president if elected senator, promising to serve a full term. If he didn’t win, O’Rourke said he and his family would head back to El Paso, where he’s served as a congressman for three terms.

Since then, he’s maintained that no decision has been made, but his fundraising capabilities have Democrats holding their breath. In the senatorial race—one of the most expensive in history—O’Rourke raised over $69 million, almost $30 million more than Cruz.

“All the guy would have to do is send out an email to his fundraising base… and he raises $30 million,” another Democratic bundler told Politico. “That has totally changed the landscape for the Tier 1 guys, because now Bernie and Warren, now they have competition. It completely changes the game if Beto runs.”

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