Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke has ended his presidential campaign after he failed to qualify for the fourth Democratic presidential debate later this month.
“My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee, and it is in the best interests of the country,” O’Rourke said in a social media post.
“We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020. I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever she or he is,” he added.
Thank you for making this campaign possible, and for continuing to believe that we can turn this moment of great peril into a moment of great promise for America and the world.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 1, 2019
O’Rourke surged on the national political scene after his surprisingly competitive senatorial run against Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Despite the loss, the 47-year-old legislator was commended for his efforts and people immediately speculated he would use this momentum to run for the presidency.
The new Democratic star, saying he was “born for this,” announced his presidential run but ultimately struggled to stand out from a crowded Democratic primary field.
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke announces that he is ending his 2020 presidential campaign, after struggling to qualify for the next Democratic debate https://t.co/SH7oG2qNwC pic.twitter.com/i3bR5KH6hV
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 2, 2019
As Reuters reports, O’Rourke made anti-gun legislation the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, as well as issues having to do with the border.
After a gunman at a Walmart store killed 22 people in August in his home city of El Paso, O’Rourke shifted the focus of his campaign to gun control, traveling not only to early primary states but areas where previous massacres had taken place.
Coming from the Texas border city, O’Rourke was also one of the most unrelenting critics of Trump, especially over his plans to build a border wall and his immigration policies.
“We took the boldest approach to gun safety in American history; we confronted institutional, systemic racism and called out Donald Trump for his white supremacy and the violence that he’s encouraged against communities that don’t look like, pray like or love like the majority in this country,” O’Rourke said in an email to supporters shortly after announcing he was quitting the race.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) November 2, 2019
President Trump responded to the announcement with a tweet of his own on Friday afternoon, saying: “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.’ I don’t think so!”
Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was “born for this.” I don’t think so!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019