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Despite strong 2018 showing, Beto O'Rourke won't challenge GOP Sen. John Cornyn; 2020 announcement expected soon


'Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country'

Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) will not run for the U.S. Senate in Texas against Republican incumbent John Cornyn, despite the onetime congressman's stronger-than-expected showing against GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in November.

Sources close to the Democrat say they expect him to announce his bid for president soon, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country," O'Rourke said in a statement to the Morning News. "We are excited to share it with everyone soon."

What has O'Rourke been doing since the midterms?

Since losing the 2018 election, O'Rourke has reportedly been weighing his political options. Earlier this month, O'Rourke teased a national campaign while discussing his political future in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

O'Rourke told Winfrey that he had "been thinking about running for president."

"We want to play as great a role as possible making sure that this country lives up to our expectations, to the promise, to the potential that we all know her to have," he said during an interview in New York City's Times Square.

The 46-year-old El Paso resident recently received the El Pasoan of the Year Award where he hinted that he would not be making a run for the U.S. Senate in 2020.

What else?

If O'Rourke jumps into the presidential race, he'll be entering a growing pool of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, including Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (N.J), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), among several others.

University of Iowa political scientist Tim Hagle told the Morning News that O'Rourke still has time to compete against those who've already been fundraising and campaigning.

"I don't know that O'Rourke has missed his opportunity, but he does need to get in the race," Hagle said.

O'Rourke raised an unprecedented $80 million during his grassroots Senate campaign where he road-tripped to visit every county in the state.

Former U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk said that O'Rourke would need to run a more traditional and structured campaign if he wants to become a serious contender.

"One of his positives is also a liability," Kirk told the Morning News. "He was able to run an unconventional campaign. It's one thing to drive around Texas. He has to put together much more of a traditional campaign to manage the demands of a national race."

But Kirk hasn't counted the Texas Democrat out.

"It's anybody's game," Kirk added. "He's got to put on his big-boy pants and get in there and fight."

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