WASHINGTON – Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke is running for president, the Texas Democrat announced in a video posted to YouTube on Thursday.
“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in the video. “The challenges that we face right now, the interconnected crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate have never been greater.”
He added: “They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America.”
O’Rourke, 46, served in the House of Representatives from 2013-19. He garnered national headlines last year after having come within 3 points of defeating Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the state’s U.S. Senate race.
Some pundits have pointed to the close contest as evidence that O’Rourke might be able to carry ruby-red Texas in a presidential election. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
The ever-growing Democratic field includes former Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colo.), Gov. Jay Inslee (Wash.), Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), former congressmen John Delaney (Md.) and Julian Castro (Texas), and best-selling author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson.
Prospective candidates are said to include former Vice President Joe Biden and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Recent polls show Sanders leading among the declared candidates. Biden leads when prospective candidates are included.