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Beto O'Rourke


Twitter Followers: 1.7M


Congress Bills
Quick Facts
Personal Details

Robert "Beto" O'Rourke was a Democratic candidate for president of the United States in 2020. He announced his candidacy on March 14, 2019. On November 1, 2019, O'Rourke announced he was ending his campaign.

From 2013 to 2019, O'Rourke was a Democratic member of the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th Congressional District. He was first elected in 2012 after defeating incumbent Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary. O'Rourke also served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.

In 2018, O'Rourke was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas. Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) defeated O’Rourke in the general election by a margin of 3 percentage points.

Candidate Connection survey in 2019. .

O'Rourke was born in 1972 and grew up in El Paso, Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University in 1995.

O'Rourke worked in New York as an art mover, nanny, and proofreader for publisher H.W. Wilson Company. He returned to El Paso in 1998 and co-founded the IT consulting company Stanton Street.

In 2005, O'Rourke was elected to the El Paso City Council, where he served until 2011. He ran to represent Texas' 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House in 2012, defeating eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary with 51 percent of the vote and winning the general election with 65 percent. He served in the U.S. House until 2019.

O'Rourke challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the U.S. Senate election for Texas in 2018 and raised more than $80 million for his bid—the most that had ever been raised by a U.S. Senate candidate at the time.


  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995

Professional Experience

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995
  • Owner, Stanton Street Technology, 1999-2012

Political Experience

  • BA, English, Columbia University at New York City, 1991-1995
  • Owner, Stanton Street Technology, 1999-2012
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2020
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, District 16, 2013-2019
  • Candidate, United States Senate, 2018
  • Member, El Paso City Council, 2005-2011

Former Committees/Caucuses

Former Member, Armed Services Committee, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Fourth Amendment Caucus, United States House of Representatives

Former Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Health, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Readiness, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, United States House of Representatives

Former Member, Veterans' Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives

Other Info

  • Pat

  • El Paso County Commissioner/County Judge

  • Melissa

  • Owner, Charlottes Furniture




An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. On March 14, 2019, O'Rourke announced that he was running for president. O'Rourke announced he was ending his campaign on November 1, 2019.


General election
General election for U.S. Senate Texas

Incumbent Ted Cruz (R) defeated Beto O'Rourke (D) and Neal Dikeman (L) in the general election for U.S. Senate Texas on November 6, 2018.

Ted Cruz (R)
4,260,553 Votes

Beto O'Rourke (D)
4,045,632 Votes

Neal Dikeman (L)
65,470 Votes

Total votes: 8,371,655

Democratic primary election
Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Texas

Beto O'Rourke defeated Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Texas on March 6, 2018.

Beto O'Rourke (D)
640,769 Votes

Sema Hernandez (D)
245,847 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Edward Kimbrough (D)
149,851 Votes

Total votes: 1,036,467

Republican primary election
Republican primary for U.S. Senate Texas

Incumbent Ted Cruz defeated Mary Miller, Bruce Jacobson Jr., Stefano de Stefano, and Geraldine Sam in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate Texas on March 6, 2018.

Ted Cruz (R)
1,315,146 Votes

Mary Miller (R)
94,274 Votes

Bruce Jacobson Jr. (R)
64,452 Votes

Stefano de Stefano (R)
44,251 Votes

Silhouette Placeholder Image.png

Geraldine Sam (R)
22,767 Votes

Total votes: 1,540,890


rated this race as safely Democratic. Incumbent Beto O'Rourke (D) defeated Jaime Perez (L) and Mary Gourdoux (G) in the general election on November 8, 2016. O'Rourke defeated Ben Mendoza in the Democratic primary on March 1, 2016. No Republicans filed to run in the race.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2016

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 85.7% 150,228
Libertarian Jaime Perez 10% 17,491
Green Mary Gourdoux 4.3% 7,510
Total Votes 175,229
Source: Texas Secretary of State

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2016

Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 85.6% 40,051
Ben Mendoza 14.4% 6,749
Total Votes 46,800
Source: Texas Secretary of State


O'Rourke won re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Democratic nomination in the primary election on March 4, 2014, with no opposition. He defeated Corey Roen (R) and Jaime Perez (L) in the general election on November 4, 2014.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2014

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke Incumbent 67.5% 49,338
Republican Corey Roen 29.2% 21,324
Libertarian Jaime Perez 3.3% 2,443
Total Votes 73,105
Source: Texas Secretary of State


O'Rourke won the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th District. He defeated incumbent Silvestre Reyes and challengers Jerome Tilghman, Ben Mendoza, and Paul Johnson, Jr. in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012. He then defeated Barbara Carrasco (R) and Junart Sodoy (L) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2012

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 65.4% 101,403
Republican Barbara Carrasco 32.9% 51,043
Libertarian Junart Sodoy 1.7% 2,559
Total Votes 155,005
Source: Texas Secretary of State

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2012

Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 50.5% 23,261
Silvestre Reyes Incumbent 44.3% 20,440
Jerome Tilghman 2.8% 1,270
Ben Mendoza 1.5% 701
Paul Johnson, Jr. 0.9% 419
Total Votes 46,091
Policy Positions

Presidential Election 2020 Political Courage Test


1. Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-choice

2. Other or expanded principles
- At a time of unprecedented attacks on women and their health care, an O'Rourke Administration will call upon all three branches of the federal government to protect Roe v. Wade and defend a woman's right to make her own decisions about her body. At the executive level, Beto will increase funding for women's health care and put no restrictions on the use of funds for abortions. At the judicial level, Beto will appoint judges who recognize Roe as settled precedent. At the legislative level, Beto will repeal Hyde and work to pass legislation protecting the full spectrum of reproductive health.


1. Other or expanded principles
- Social Security works. Yet today, the GOP's borrowing from our kids, to cut checks to corporations, and then threatening our parents and grandparents with cuts to Medicare and Social Security they've earned. Beto rejects those cuts. As president, he would work to enact Medicare for America, giving all Americans the option to join Medicare; and supports the Social Security 2100 Act, which will not only increase benefits, but guarantees the long-term viability of Social Security by, for example, ensuring that millionaires and billionaires no longer pay less in Social Security taxes than truck drivers and nurses.

2. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- Yes

3. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
- Yes


1. Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- No

2. Other or expanded principles
- We need to ensure that each and every child, regardless of their zip code, has a chance to reach their potential. All students should have access to instruction based on college and career ready standards. But standards are just one critical building block. We must ensure that our children and teachers have access to the resources they need to succeed. As President, Beto would create a permanent fund for equity and excellence to ensure families have access to high-quality public schools, closing gaps in funding based on race and income.

Energy & Environment

1. Other or expanded principles
- Climate change is the greatest threat we face, one which will test our country, our democracy, and every single one of us. Our longstanding inaction has not only impacted our climate but led to a growing emergency that has already started to sap our economic prosperity and public health, worsening inequality and threatening our safety and security. Climate change will be Beto's top priority as president. As President, he'll leverage a multitude of resources and invest $5 trillion into combating climate change, guaranteeing that we reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and get halfway there by 2030.

2. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- Yes

3. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
- Yes


1. Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- As President, Beto will directly address the gun violence epidemic by working with Congress to implement a national licensing system and universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and institute a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns. Beto will also close loopholes and support Extreme Risk Protection Order laws. Beto will declare our gun violence epidemic a public health emergency and invest in CDC research into gun violence. He will also address the root causes of hate and white nationalism that are fueling many of the mass shootings and tragedies across the country.

Health Care

1. Other or expanded principles
- We cannot reverse the progress made in securing health care coverage for nearly 20 million Americans. But we must go further. Every American deserves guaranteed, universal, high-quality health care without exception. That's why Beto supports Medicare for America, which guarantees universal, high-quality care for every American. Under this plan, everyone without care will be automatically enrolled into Medicare. Those with insufficient coverage can enroll into Medicare, and those whose employers continue to offer employer-sponsored care can keep if they want to or enroll in Medicare. Under Medicare, deductibles will be eliminated. Premiums will be affordable and based on income.

2. Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- No

Campaign Finance

1. Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- We must be responsive to people, not PACs and corporations. To ensure that politicians are always putting the interests of their constituents above the interests of corporations, Beto will call for legislation that ends the influence of PACs; provides matching contributions for low dollar donors; brings transparency to donations made by corporations and other large donors and imposes term limits on Members of Congress.


1. Other or expanded principles
- President Trump has already cut corporate tax cuts, draining federal revenue which will prevent us from making the investments we need to ensure America stays competitive. We need to make sure that wealthy investors and corporations face the same set of rules as workers by ending tax preferences for capital gains and reversing the Trump tax cuts, restoring the top marginal tax rate and increasing the corporate tax rate to at least the mid 20s. Beto also favors efforts to simplify the tax code for small business owners by establishing a standard deduction for small businesses.

2. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

3. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No


1. Other or expanded principles
- No matter when you arrived, your story is part of the American story. At this time of great horror at our border and in our communities, we have an opportunity to meet this fear and smallness with an ambition and a bigheartedness that reflects the genius of this nation. Beto is proposing the most sweeping rewrite of our immigration laws in a generation to end the chaos at the border and reunite families, reform our asylum system, provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people including DREAMers and their parents and make naturalization free for 9 million eligible immigrants.

2. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
- No

3. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- No

National Security

1. Other or expanded principles
- There can no longer be a blank check for war. We must withdraw our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria while working with our allies and partners to ensure a sustainable peace. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Beto will negotiate a drawdown of troops in coordination with our allies and international partners. In Syria, he will pursue a thoughtful strategy that puts diplomacy in the driver's seat and works by, with, and through partners to pursue multiple lines of effort that builds existing military capacity, targets the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, cuts off funding to ISIS, and provides humanitarian relief.

2. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
- Unknown Position

3. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
- Yes

Administrative Priorities

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.
- Beto will immediately take action to address climate change; reverse Trump's cruel policies towards immigrants and protect DREAMers; support workers, entrepreneurs, farmers, and grow the economy; protect a women's right to choose; protect the rights of all people to love -- free from discrimination; make hate crimes a law enforcement priority, while acting swiftly to curb the epidemic of gun violence and to tackle racial disparities in law enforcement. Beto will cancel the blank check on endless war and reassert our country's role on the global stage, no longer alienating our partners, or squandering the standing we earned over decades.


1. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Instead of reckless trade wars that alienate our allies while raise taxes on working families, we need a trade policy that puts working families first. While Beto recognizes that targeted tariffs are a tool that may sometimes be necessary, Trump's Tariffs are part of a reckless trade war that have amounted to a tax hike on middle-class Americans. As president, Beto will immediately end Trump's reckless tariffs and implement a trade policy that supports rural communities, puts working families first, and ensures that our trading partners meet high-quality environmental and labor requirements.


1. Do you support increasing defense spending?
- Yes

2. Other or expanded principles
- Our power rests in our unyielding commitment to our values and our leadership at home and abroad. And as the world creeps towards authoritarianism, we need to defend those values---now more than ever---with bold leadership on the international stage. We need to be smarter about defense spending. As President, Beto will go line by line to ensure spending is necessary and, more importantly, to ensure we are preparing for current threats to our national security (eg, cybersecurity). We also need to ensure that we're shifting funds we're saving from ending forever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to supporting veterans.


Beto O'Rourke Ends 2020 Presidential Bid

Nov. 2, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman, announced Friday that he was ending his Democratic presidential campaign, which failed to recapture the enthusiasm, interest and fundraising prowess of his 2018 Senate bid. Addressing supporters in Iowa, O’Rourke said he made the decision “reluctantly” and vowed to stay active in the fight to defeat President Donald Trump. “I will be part of this and so will you,” he said. O’Rourke was urged to run for president by many Democrats, including supporters of former President Barack Obama, who were energized by his narrow Senate loss last year in Texas, a reliably Republican state. He raised a record $80 million from donors across the country, visited every county in Texas and used social media and livestreaming video to engage directly with voters. He ultimately lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz by 3 percentage points. But O’Rourke, 47, struggled to replicate that model in the presidential primary, and both his polling and his fundraising dwindled significantly in recent months. “We have to clearly see, at this point, that we did not have the means to pursue this campaign successfully and that my service will not be as a candidate, nor as a nominee of this party for the presidency,” O’Rourke said. O’Rourke’s decision comes as the Democratic primary enters a critical stretch. With three months until the kickoff Iowa caucuses, polls consistently show a trio of candidates leading the way: former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, showing strength in Iowa, as well. Lower polling candidates face difficult questions about whether they have the money to sustain a campaign through the first primary contests. Earlier this week, Kamala Harris, another candidate who entered the race to much fanfare, announced she was downscaling her campaign, laying off some staffers and reorienting almost exclusively to focus on Iowa. O’Rourke entered the race as the feel-good, dynamic candidate who had the ability to appeal to both Republicans and Democrats and work across the aisle in Washington. But he immediately faced criticism that he had a sense of entitlement, particularly after the release of a Vanity Fair interview on the eve of his campaign launch in which he appeared to say he was “born” to be in presidential politics. After quickly pulling in $9.4 million during his first two weeks in the race, O’Rourke’s financial situation deteriorated. By the end of June, he was spending more than his campaign was taking in. By the end of September, he had just $3.2 million cash on hand while spending double that over the previous three months, campaign finance records show. Perhaps more significantly, the small-dollar contributions that fueled his Senate bid and the early days of his presidential campaign slowed to a $1.9 million trickle. The former congressman also struggled to articulate a consistent vision and messaging as a presidential candidate. He spent several weeks trying to build his campaign around climate change, calling global warming the greatest existential threat the country had ever faced. But as the excitement over his candidacy began to fade, O’Rourke was forced to stage a “reintroduction” of his campaign to reinvigorate it. After a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in his hometown of El Paso, killing 22 people, O’Rourke more heavily embraced gun control, saying he would take assault weapons away from existing owners. As O’Rourke’s standing in the presidential primary plummeted, some Democrats urged him to return to Texas for another Senate run. He has repeatedly denied having any interest in that race. O’Rourke’s decision came hours before he was supposed to join other Democratic contenders at a party dinner in Iowa. Campaign volunteers were still collecting voter information and handing out “Beto” stickers” outside the event amid a steady rain as the candidate announced he was dropping out. O’Rourke did not endorse another Democrat for the nomination, saying the country will be well served by any of the other candidates, “and I’m going to be proud to support whoever that nominee is.” Trump quickly weighed in on O’Rourke’s exit, saying in a tweet: “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!” ___ Associated Press writer Brian Slodysko contributed to this report from Washington. Weissert reported from Des Moines, Iowa.Source:

Why Low-Polling 2020 Democrats Still Have a Chance

Nov. 1, 2019

If we use “qualified for at least one debate” to define “serious candidate for a party’s nomination,” then the race in the Democratic presidential primary winnowed down to 16 when Rep. Tim Ryan ended his campaign last week.  To put this in perspective, the oversized Republican field of 2016 reached its maximum at 16 candidates.  One might question whether it is fair to consider John Delaney a major candidate simply because he qualified for a debate, but we are also considering Jim Gilmore a major candidate for Republicans in 2016 under our definition. This has led some to call for more aggressive winnowing of the Democratic field.  Take this Slate article, which urges multiple candidates to drop out since they have almost no chance of becoming the nominee, including reasonably strong candidates such as Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker. The Democratic Party itself seemingly agrees, having substantially raised the polling and fundraising requirements to qualify for the December debate. This discussion is getting ahead of things.  Here is why: 1. We don’t know a lot about how primaries work, much less mega-primaries. Since the presidential nomination process was turned over fully to the voters in 1972, we’ve had a total of 24 presidential primary campaigns. Several of these were effectively uncontested – the 1984 Republican race, the 1996 Democratic race, the 2004 Republican race and the 2012 Democratic race -- lowering the number of cases to 20.  Still more saw only weak opposition arise, such as the 1972 Republican race.  Even with the remaining primaries, we don’t see much that resembles the current contest.  Consider the Democratic side. In 2016, at the peak, six major candidates (and that is being generous to Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Lawrence Lessig) ran for president. In 2008 it was eight.  The 2004 primaries saw 10 candidates run, while 2000 was a two-man race.  In 1992, Democrats had a six-candidate field, 1988 saw 11, and 1984 had eight.  On the Republican side, it is a similar story. How does this history translate to the current “mega-field”? We don’t know, because we only have one other such field in recent times: the Republican’ in 2016.  We really can’t base much off of this. A careful analyst must also consider that the factors driving these large fields – the rise of online fundraising and super PACs, the availability of the Internet to bypass media and party gatekeepers, and so forth – also should alter our definitions of “viability.”  Put differently, the old adage that there are three tickets out of Iowa and two out of New Hampshire may no longer hold true. Think of it this way: In the 1996 Iowa Republican caucuses, eighth place was Morry Taylor (you will be forgiven if you have to Google him).  In 2016 it was John Kasich, who eventually finished in third place in the delegate count. 2. Undecideds and “the one percent” matter. A lot. One other side effect of the large field is that an unusually large number of votes are being held by the “undecided” category, and by “one-percenters,” my term for candidates that have only minuscule support. To see what I mean, consider the national RCP average. “Undecided” along with candidates receiving 2% of the vote or less currently account for about 20% of the total.  This means that about 20% of the field is either given over to candidates who really are long shots for the nomination (but see below) or are undecided.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that undecided is currently in third place. We see similar effects in the early primary states. Undecideds/minor candidates total 19% of respondents in Iowa (good for second place) and are leading Nevada with 27%. In South Carolina 18% of voters are undecided or for minor candidates (second place).  Only in New Hampshire does a relatively large segment of the electorate seem to have settled on a major candidate; still, the 9% total for undecideds/minor candidates is still good enough for fourth place. The field will continue to winnow, and those voters will go somewhere.  Joe Sestak’s 0.5% and Beto O’Rourke’s 1% average may seem inconsequential, but combined they could be the difference between Tulsi Gabbard finishing in eighth place and fifth. 3. There isn’t much separating top from bottom here. One of the problems that Republicans had in 2016 was that the incentives for candidates to drop out simply weren’t there, and this was a direct consequence of the size of the field.  Most of the 2020 minor candidates have been involved in races where they have come from behind or had a substantial surge in the polls.  Right now none of them are more than three points out of fifth place in Iowa, none is more than nine points out of fourth place in New Hampshire, none is more than five points out of fourth place in Nevada, and none is more than seven points out of fourth place in South Carolina. To be clear, I’m saying that finishing fifth, fourth, fourth and fourth would get a candidate the nomination.  But because the Democratic race is sequential, scoring at this level in a few early races probably extends a candidate’s lifespan, and all of these candidates are within striking distance of such a showing. Moreover, since the eighth- and ninth-place candidates will likely be dropping out, that will free up a significant number of voters.  Again, where those voters go is sort of up for grabs; it seems like they should gravitate to the major candidates, but their status as voters for minor candidates suggests that there are things about the major candidates they already dislike. 4. Big things happen late in the primary season. If you’re tuned in enough to be reading this, the 2020 presidential election probably already seems interminable.  For most voters, however, it is only getting started.  This means that lots of minds will be changed, and big movements for candidates can occur.  At this point in 2015, Donald Trump’s main challenger in the polling was Ben Carson, who would actually eclipse Trump briefly in the national polls in early November. Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who would be the last two candidates standing, were in fourth and ninth place, respectively.  In 2011, on the Republican side, we had just witnessed Rick Perry’s poll collapse, and we were in the midst of Herman Cain’s rise.  Newt Gingrich was at 9% in the polls; by mid-December he would have a 13-point lead and have around a third of the Republican electorate in his camp. Rick Santorum was at 2% in the polls, and would not begin his surge until January. What about 2007? The Republican poll leaders were Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, neither of whom would win a primary. Eventual nominee John McCain was in third place with about 15% of the vote, while Mike Huckabee was at just 7%. In Iowa, which Huckabee would eventually win, the former Arkansas governor was only just starting his surge; at the beginning of the month he was in fifth place. Barack Obama trailed Hillary Clinton by over 20 points nationally at this point in 2007. In 2003, the race looked like a two-man race between Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean.  Eventual nominee John Kerry was in third place, albeit with only 9% of the vote. To be sure, none of these candidates were at 2% of the vote.  But none of these candidates were in 16-person fields either.  It is perfectly reasonable for candidates to wait and see if they can catch fire; someone usually does at this point in the primaries. 5. Joe Biden is the X-factor.  Looming above all of this is the figure of Joe Biden.  Biden’s vote share has been remarkably stable, but he’s slipping into second place in the early states and is toying with third place in New Hampshire.  If this turns into a panic among “establishment” Democratic donors, his candidacy could collapse rather quickly.  That would be a lot of votes, in addition to “undecided” and “one/two-percenters” potentially up for grabs.  Against this backdrop, it is understandable why candidates like Klobuchar stick around, at least for now. Source:

CNN "Erin Burnett Out Front" - Transcript: "Interview with Beto O'Rourke"

Oct. 24, 2019

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT BURNETT: Tonight, a major reversal by Joe Biden. The former vice president says he is now open to accepting donations from super PACs. The shift coming after Biden discovered he had far less cash on hand than four of his rivals. Just to give you a sense of the scope, right in all of the way down with the 9 million. Look at Bernie Sanders, 33.7, Elizabeth Warren, 25.7. You get the picture. So, it's a major move from Biden. It goes against much of his party. Eight of his rivals, eight, has sworn off big PAC money. Bernie Sanders campaign slamming Biden in a statement, saying, quote: The former vice president has been unable to generate grassroots support and now his campaign is endorsing an effort to buy the primary. That's not how we defeat Trump. OUTFRONT now, Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman, Beto O'Rourke. And, Congressman, thanks for being with me. I want to make it clear. You said you're not taking donations from corporations or super PACs. Do you agree with the sentiment from Sanders that Biden is trying to, quote, buy the primary? [19:50:00] BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We see far too much influence from those who can buy access and increasingly outcomes in our legislation and in our elections. So, I agree. There is no room for political action committees, or super PACs. There is no truth to the idea that corporations are people and money is speech, and they can spend unlimited amounts of money to involve themselves in change and undermine our democracy. I haven't taken PAC money for more than five years. We're running a grassroots campaign. Everyone who has gone to and donated to us has fueled this effort to make sure that we can get out to voters. That's way that our democracy should work, and I'm going to stay with my commitment not to take PAC money or super PAC money in this race. BURNETT: All right. Obviously, Joe Biden now no longer doing that. I mean, CBS just released a clip of an interview with Joe Biden where he was asked about the Trump administration. I wanted to play one clip. This just came in, Congressman. So let me play it for you. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Think of all the really solid people that were left, that started off in that administration. They've all left. They've all left. All the talent is gone. They've left or great, Americans like Rudy Giuliani is still engaged. What's going on? People see this. They're thugs. (END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Do you agree with the vice president, his word, this administration full of thugs? O'ROURKE: I think the place I hope that we agree on is that the president has broken the law of this country, has committed crimes in secret that he's tried to cover up, and then committed them out in the open for the entire world to see. And if we allow this to stand with impunity, then we will have set the precedent that some people are above the law in this country. So I hope that our focus in common will become on insuring the president is impeached, that there is accountability and justice at the end of the day, that the members of the Senate, Republicans and Democrats alike are armed with the facts and do the right thing not for their party, not for their president, but for this country and for our future. That's what I'm focused on right now. Donald Trump has broken the law, must be held accountable. BURNETT: And, Congressman, obviously people can see where you are tonight. We have it up on the screen. You're in Des Moines, Iowa. And CNN, our Miguel Marquez went there just the other day. He spoke to voters about impeachment. And, you know, what they had to say is perhaps surprising to some. I wanted to play just a couple of them for you. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, things seem kind of minor, I guess. MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Minor in that all politicians do this sort of stuff? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm sure they all do. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all becomes a hum. MARQUEZ: Background noise. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all becomes a drone, a background noise. And we've also come to expect it. (END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Does that give you pause? They expect this kind of behavior. They're not -- by the way, both of those are people who had voted for President Obama before they voted for Trump. So they're not -- they're not the core Trump base as some may define it. Does that give you pause when you think about pursuing impeachment as opposed to doing this as the polls? O'ROURKE: No, it doesn't. It just raises the urgency that we pursue impeachment, accountability and justice. We've known for years now that the president has been working with foreign governments, has been trying to cover up his actions and obstruct justice in the process. And so perhaps those that your correspondent spoke to, having seen that we've done nothing over the last three years to hold him accountable might wonder whether he really has committed crimes or if there is anything wrong in his behavior. That's why it is so important to send the unambiguous signal through impeachment and in a trial in the Senate that this is not something we condone or accept in the United States of America. And furthermore, we have to come to the conclusion that regardless of how this polls or how politically popular it is, the future and the fate of this country hangs in the balance. We've got to do the right thing while there is still time to do the right thing. BURNETT: You rolled out plan today, Congressman, about the opioid epidemic. You wants to give states $100 billion to help states who to help people who are struggling with that horrific addiction. At a debate last week in Columbus, you surprised a lot of people when you said you supported decriminalizing possession of opioids for personal use. Why do you think that will help this crisis? O'ROURKE: When someone fears that if they come forward with an addiction or substance use disorder, that they will be arrested and incarcerated, then they're less likely to come forward and they're more likely to die. We've lost the lives of hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans over the last decade. There are some simple steps that we can take to stop that. Number one, removing the stigma and making sure that you will not become justice involved if you try to get the help you so desperately need. Number two, making sure that we fund the resources necessary for treatment and long-term recovery. And the number three, and that is important, we hold Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical corporations responsible for the devastation and death accountable for their actions. [19:55:04] If we fail to do that, then we can expect to see the same kind of effect and consequences in our communities. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman O'Rourke. I appreciate your time. O'ROURKE: Thank you. BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT