Beto O’Rourke drops out of 2020 Democrat primary
4 weeks ago Triangle 0
Written by: Jake Love, staff writer
DES MOINES, Iowa — Former Texas Representative and Democrat Party primary candidate Beto O’Rourke told supporters on Friday, Nov. 1 that he is dropping out of the 2020 race.
O’Rourke announced his withdrawal first with a post on Medium and an email to his supporters, then later at a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. O’Rourke said, “Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully.”
During the campaign, O’Rourke polled in the bottom tier of candidates, usually getting around 2% then 1%. Although many thought he’d be a frontrunner when he declared his candidacy in March, his support quickly dwindled.
O’Rourke’s campaign spoke largely on gun control, intensifying such discussion after the mass shooting in O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso. O’Rourke blamed the attack on Republican President Donald Trump, saying the assailant was “inspired to kill by our president.”
O’Rourke advocates a government buyback of assault rifles, a much stronger stance than many of his Democrat colleagues took. He famously said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s and your AK-47s.”
He also criticized Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for being too inactive in gun control legislation. Schumer, who has been called an architect of gun control legislation, responded by reporting how he saw no support in the Democrat party for O’Rourke’s stance.
Additionally, O’Rourke received backlash when he declared how if he won the presidential election, he would revoke the tax exemption of any religious institution that opposed homosexual marriage.
“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of everyone of us,” O’Rourke said.
Many conservative and religious leaders rebuked O’Rourke, saying that he sought to violate the First Amendment’s freedom of religion clause.
O’Rourke gained fame when he almost beat longtime incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the 2018 midterms. O’Rourke’s challenge earned him wide support from Democrats, including former two-term President Barack Obama.
His fame caused a great deal of celebrities to surround his presidential campaign, but less-than-stellar performances in the debate made the enthusiasm many had for O’Rourke burn out.
Many attribute O’Rourke’s lack of funding to low polling support. In the first 48 hours after announcing his candidacy, his campaign received $6 million in donations, but the campaign wouldn’t raise a sum of money that large again for the following 100 days.
Eventually, his campaign became rumored to be spending more money than it was taking in, likely leading to its implosion.
The race’s frontrunners, former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) have consistently led the other candidates in fundraising.
Although many hope that O’Rourke will continue to remain in public policy, he said in an interview last month, “I cannot fathom a scenario where I would run for public office again if I’m not the [presidential] nominee.”
Some of O’Rourke’s donors approached him after the October debate with the proposition of dropping out of the primary race to challenge Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is up for reelection. O’Rourke declined the offer.
In the latest poll from Economist/YouGov, Biden is shown with just a slight lead over Warren, with Sanders being their closest competitor but still far behind.
Jake Love is a staff writer for the Triangle. He is an English major with an emphasis on creative writing and commutes from Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. He enjoys reading and consuming large amounts of caffeine.