Beto O'Rourke

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Beto O'Rourke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 16th district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2019
Preceded bySilvestre Reyes
Succeeded byVeronica Escobar
Member of the El Paso City Council
from the 8th district
In office
June 1, 2005 – June 27, 2011
Preceded byAnthony Cobos
Succeeded byCortney Niland
Personal details
Robert Francis O'Rourke

(1972-09-26) September 26, 1972 (age 51)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Amy Hoover Sanders (m. 2005)
EducationColumbia University (BA)
WebsiteHouse website Campaign website

Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (/ˈbɛt/; born September 26, 1972) is an American politician and businessman. He was the U.S. Representative for Texas's 16th congressional district from 2013 to 2019. He was elected to congress in 2012.[1] He ran for President of the United States in 2020. O'Rourke unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Texas in the 2022 election.

O'Rourke was the Democratic nominee in the 2018 Texas Senate race, challenging Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.[2] He lost the general election to Cruz.[3]

After the 2018 election, O'Rourke had been seen as a possible candidate for President of the United States in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.[4] Other analysts have seen O'Rourke as the Democratic vice presidential candidate.[5]

On March 13, 2019, O'Rourke announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President.[6] He ended his bid on November 1, 2019. In November 2021, he said that he would run for Governor of Texas in the 2022 election.

Early life[change | change source]

O'Rourke was born on September 26, 1972 in El Paso, Texas, to Pat Francis O'Rourke and his second wife Melissa Martha O'Rourke (née Williams).[7][8][9][10] He has Irish and Welsh[11] ancestry.[12][13][14][15] His family gave him the nickname in infancy "Beto", a common Spanish nickname for first names ending in "-berto".[16]

O'Rourke studied at Columbia University, where he graduated in 1995. During his college years, he formed a band Band.[17]

On May 19, 1995, O'Rourke and his friends sneaked under the fence at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) physical plant, and were arrested by the UTEP police for burglary. He stayed in jail overnight and posted bail the following day. He was initially charged with burglary, but UTEP decided not to press charges. O'Rourke was arrested for drunk driving after a car crash on September 27, 1998. The charges were dismissed in October 1999 after he completed a court-recommended DWI program.[18]

Early career[change | change source]

In mid-2005, O'Rourke ran for the El Paso City Council on a platform of downtown development and border reform.[19] O'Rourke defeated two-term incumbent City Councilman Anthony Cobos 57 percent to 43 percent.[20][21] O'Rourke is one of the youngest representatives ever to have served on the City Council.[22] In 2007, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Trini Acevedo 70 percent to 30 percent.[23] During his first term, he supported a plan to convert a depressed area of El Paso into a business district, including an arena, major retailers, and an arts walk. In January 2009, O'Rourke sponsored a resolution calling for "comprehensive examination" of the War on Drugs and "the repeal of ineffective marijuana laws".

U.S. Representative[change | change source]

In 2012, O'Rourke filed for the Democratic primary against the eight-term Silvestre Reyes to represent Texas's 16th congressional district. The primary was seen as the real contest in the Democratic, Latino-majority district.[24] O'Rourke won 50.5 percent of the vote.[25] He defeated his Republican opponent, Barbara Carrasco, in the general election with 65 percent of the vote.[26]

As a Congressman, he held at least one town hall meeting every month. In March 2013, O'Rourke and Republican Steve Pearce of New Mexico introduced the Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act. In November 2014, O'Rourke was against Barack Obama's deferred action policy that used an executive action to bypass Congress in order to spare approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, saying "the motive is noble, but the means are really hard to stomach."[27]

O'Rourke endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, being one of the last Democratic congressmen to support her during the primary.[28] As a sitting member of Congress, O'Rourke was a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention.[29]

2018 U.S. Senate election[change | change source]

On March 31, 2017, O'Rourke formally announced his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.[30] In March 2018, O'Rourke became the Democratic Party nominee, winning 61.8 percent of the primary vote.[31] O'Rourke campaigned in all of Texas's 254 counties, sometimes drawing large crowds and sometimes speaking to as few as 15 or 20 people.

His campaign employed the use of mass text messages.[32] According to the 2018 third-quarter report from the FEC, his campaign spent US$7.3 million on digital advertising alone (in contrast with Cruz's $251,000).[33]

He posted to social media daily, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and livestreamed his activities traveling the state, such as skateboarding in a Whataburger parking lot, washing clothes at a laundromat, and "blockwalking" in his constituents' neighborhoods.[34]

On November 6, 2018, Ted Cruz defeated O'Rourke.[35][36][37] Cruz won 51 percent of the vote, compared to 48 percent for O'Rourke.[38]

2020 presidential campaign[change | change source]

In late 2018, speculation began that O'Rourke might run in the United States presidential election in 2020. On March 14, 2019, O'Rourke launched his campaign.[6] He ended his campaign on November 1, 2019.[39]

2022 Texas gubernatorial campaign[change | change source]

On November 15, 2021 O'Rourke announced that he is running for Governor of Texas in the 2022 election against Greg Abbott.[40] He won the Democratic nomination on March 1, 2022.[41] He was defeated in the gubernatorial election.

Personal life[change | change source]

O'Rourke married Amy Hoover Sanders in 2005.[42] The couple and their three children live in El Paso's Sunset Heights area.[43]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Rep. Beto O'Rourke to launch Senate run against Ted Cruz Friday". The Texas Tribune. March 29, 2017. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  2. "A Democrat no one's heard of just raised triple the amount Ted Cruz did, despite rejecting special interest money". Business Insider.
  3. "Ted Cruz wins Texas Senate race, fending off challenge from Beto O'Rourke". CBS News. 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  4. Lemon, Jason (November 11, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke has "star quality," Republican strategist says, as calls for 2020 presidential run increase". Newsweek. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  5. "Vice President Beto O'Rourke?". Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tilove, Jonathan. "BREAKING: Beto O'Rourke confirmed 2020 presidential run, TV station reports". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  7. "Miss McNutt Becomes Bride Of Pat O'Rourke". El Paso Times. September 5, 1964. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  8. "Gall McNutt O'Rourke vs. Pat Francis O'Rourke". El Paso Times. March 17, 1966. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  9. "Births". El Paso Times. September 27, 1972. Retrieved September 22, 2018. Hotel Dieu: (Tuesday) Mr. and Mrs. Pat F. O'Rourke, 229 Fountain. boy.
  10. Tilove, Jonathan (March 9, 2018). "'So he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.' On the deeper purposes of the Cruz jingle". First Reading. Austin American-Statesman. Archived from the original on November 3, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  11. "A lot of big trucks rolling down Pancake BLVD and there aren't any sidewalks". 16 January 2019.
  12. "One River, One Country". CBS Reports. September 3, 1989. Retrieved February 28, 2019. JUDGE PAT O'ROURKE: I'm an Irish-American
  13. Draper, Robert (November 14, 2014). "Texas, 3 Ways". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  14. "Naturalization Records, 1816 - 1955". Missouri Digital Heritage. Missouri Secretary of State. October 3, 1868. Retrieved November 5, 2018. Buchanan County Circuit Court, Final Certificate of Naturalization: O'Rourke, Bernard
  15. @BetoORourke (March 17, 2017). "From a lucky great-grandson of Ireland & in memory of my late pops Pat Francis O'Rourke, Happy Saint Patrick's day!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. Stanton, John (October 14, 2014). "Juarez's Biggest Booster Is An Irish-American Congressman". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  17. "Foss". MySpace. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  18. Diaz, Kevin (30 August 2018). "Police reports detail Beto O'Rourke's 1998 DWI arrest". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  19. Terris, Ben (February 22, 2017). "Building Bridges Instead of Walls". The Washington Post.
  20. "El Paso City Council District 8 Race – May 07, 2005". Our Campaigns. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
  21. "2005 General Election". City of El Paso. Retrieved May 20, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  22. "Beto O'Rourke: Why he's not running". El Paso Inc. Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  23. "Our Campaigns – El Paso City Council District 8 Race – May 12, 2007".
  24. Fernandez, Manny (May 30, 2012). "House Democrat Is Defeated in Texas Primary". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  25. Weiner, Rachel (May 30, 2012). "Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) defeated by Beto O'Rourke". Washington Post. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  26. "U.S. House District 16 | The Texas Tribune". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  27. Terris, Ben (November 22, 2014). "Stuck Singing Backup". The Washington Post.
  28. Murphy, Tim (September–October 2017). "Houston, We Have Progress". Mother Jones. 42 (5): 24–65. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  29. Moore, Robert (June 10, 2016). "Rep. Beto O'Rourke endorses Hillary Clinton". El Paso Times. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  30. Livingston, Abby (March 29, 2017). "Rep. Beto O'Rourke to launch Senate run against Ted Cruz Friday". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  31. Lee, Jasmine C.; Almukthar, Sarah; Bloch, Matthew (March 7, 2018). "Texas Primary Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  32. ROOSE, KEVIN (August 2, 2018). "Candidates Enter The Texting Era With a Plea: Will U Vote 4 Me?". New York Times. 167 (58042): B1–B4. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  33. Cunningham, Meg (October 16, 2018). "Beto O'Rourke is taking advantage of the digital ad spending trend". ABC News. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  34. Guynn, Jessica; Jervis, Rick; Schnaars, Christopher. "The Facebook candidate: Beto O'Rourke's social media savvy fuels long-shot Ted Cruz challenge" (October 26, 2018). USA TODAY. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  35. Riotta, Chris (November 7, 2018). "Ted Cruz wins tight Senate race against Beto O'Rourke". The Independent. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  36. Sanchez, Carlos (November 9, 2018). "Despite Tight Race With Ted Cruz, Beto O'Rourke Got Less Votes Than Least-Popular Statewide Republican". Texas Monthly. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  37. "Ted Cruz thwarts challenge from Democratic insurgent Beto O'Rourke in tight Senate race, ABC News projects". ABC News. November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  38. "Texas Senate Election Results: Beto O'Rourke vs. Ted Cruz". The New York Times. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  39. BBC (November 1, 2019). "Democrat Beto O'Rourke ends presidential bid". BBC. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  40. "Beto O'Rourke launches 2022 bid for Texas governor". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  41. "Democrats nominate Beto O'Rourke to run for Texas governor". Associated Press. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  42. Helman, Christopher; Debter, Lisa (November 4, 2018), "Is Beto O'Rourke's Wife Really A 'Billionaire' Heiress? Not Likely.",, retrieved March 3, 2019
  43. Fischer, Steve (October 5, 2017). "Sunset Heights offers tour of history: Steve Fischer column". El Paso Times. Retrieved October 19, 2018.

Other websites[change | change source]