Draft Beto campaign vows to raise $1M
Patience has apparently already run out for some Democrats waiting on Beto O’Rourke to announce whether he’ll run for president.
A group of Democrats led by a key South Carolina Democrat and a TV actress have created a “Draft Beto” campaign with a goal of raising $1 million and setting up a grassroots network to help O’Rourke get a jump start on 2020 if he were to run.
“We believe by building the grassroots infrastructure and financial resources we’ll be able to not only convince Beto to run for the Democratic nomination but give him a head start,” the group states on its new website. “That’s why every single dollar we raise is put into an escrow account, which immediately transfers to Beto’s campaign if he decides to run.”
Nate Lerner, a co-founder of the group based in Brooklyn, said other groups are trying to also draft O’Rourke to run, but what makes Draft Beto different is the group is building a network of operatives and volunteers that could easily transfer over to an official O’Rourke campaign.
“No other candidate has anything remotely like this,” said Lerner, who worked on President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
For his part, O’Rourke, who once said he would not run for president in 2020, has since changed his tune. When asked at a town hall meeting in El Paso about running, O’Rourke said he and his wife Amy would talk about what their next move will be and did not discount the possibility.
Since then, O’Rourke has been among the leaders in some early polls and even came out ahead in a straw poll from MoveOn.org — an influential group that helped propel Bernie Sanders’ upstart campaign in 2016.
O’Rourke has stoked more anticipation that he will run by posting videos on social media accounts opposing President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, specifically along the Rio Grande River.
Among those behind the new Draft Beto campaign is former South Carolina State Rep. Boyd Brown, who was an early supporter of then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Also part of the effort is Misha Collins, an actor in the hit television series Supernatural.
Already another Texas Democrat has announced he’s considering running for president. Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro last month created a presidential exploratory committee. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has also already taken steps to run in 2020.
O’Rourke, now a former Congressman from El Paso, lost his 2018 U.S. Senate campaign against Ted Cruz by about 3 percentage points. While O’Rourke lost, it was the closest a Democrat has come to winning a U.S. Senate seat in Texas since Democrat Lloyd Bentsen won his final term in 1988.