Beto O’Rourke plans Iowa trip as 2020 announcement nears

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FILE – In this Nov. 5, 2018, file photo. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, the 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, speaks during a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas. O’Rourke barged into last year’s Texas Senate race almost laughably early in March 2017. Now, as the onetime punk rocker mulls a much-hyped […]

Beto O’Rourke, on the verge of a presidential campaign, is heading to Iowa.

The former El Paso congressman is set to visit the crucial early voting state this weekend to campaign for Eric Giddens, the Democratic candidate in a special election for an Iowa Senate seat. O’Rourke will visit Waterloo on Saturday to kick off an “afternoon of canvassing, GOTV, and grassroots organizing” for Giddens, according to O’Rourke’s team.

On Monday evening, Giddens tweeted a video from O’Rourke aimed at University of Northern Iowa students, reminding them that Wednesday is the last day to vote early on campus in the special election.

“Supporting [Giddens] for state Senate is the way that we get Iowa — and by extension, this country — back on the right track,” O’Rourke says in the video as he walks through an El Paso neighborhood wearing a “Northern Iowa” hat. “UNI, we’re counting on you and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon.”

The trip will mark O’Rourke’s first to the Hawkeye State as a potential White House contender. He has traveled the country since his closer-than-expected loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in November but has not gone to any of the traditional early voting states.

O’Rourke said two weeks ago that he had made a decision about a 2020 run and would share it with supporters soon. The build-up continued over the weekend in Austin, where O’Rourke stayed mum about the timing of the announcement while appearing at the South by Southwest festival.

But all signs point to O’Rourke entering the 2020 race soon, including his decision to get involved in Giddens’ race.

Giddens is on the ballot next Tuesday to replace a Democratic senator who resigned last month in Iowa’s Senate District 30, which covers the northeastern part of the state. O’Rourke is not the only name in the 2020 mix coming to Giddens’ aid — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a declared candidate, is also visiting SD-30 this weekend.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2019/03/11/beto-orourke-texas-plans-iowa-trip-2020-announcement-nears/.

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Beto O’Rourke plans Iowa trip as 2020 announcement nears” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.


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