MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (Reuters) – As he had done at several stops in his first campaign trip as a presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke on Friday climbed atop a counter at a local Iowa business and addressed a small but adoring crowd. People clapped and cheered. Outside, some waited in the cold, hoping to catch a glimpse of him.
By that measure, his tour across eastern Iowa last week was largely a success. But by no means was O’Rourke considered a front-runner. And that underscored the challenge he faces as he competes for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
O'Rourke - US - Congressman - Texas - Celebrity
O’Rourke, a former three-term U.S. congressman from Texas, became a celebrity last year when his longshot bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz drew national attention and a torrent of money. But ultimately, his fame was not enough.
That loss led some critics to wonder why someone who couldn’t secure a Senate seat would then think he should run for president.
Obstacle - O'Rourke - Man - State - Key
That is not his only obstacle. O’Rourke, 46, is a wealthy, white man from a conservative-leaning state who is more moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors. Given the energy among progressives in the early stages of the race and the diversity of the Democratic field, O’Rourke would appear to be everything that many in party say they do not want.
More than a dozen Democrats have declared their candidacy to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election, including six women. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California would make history as the first black woman to gain the nomination. Julian Castro, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would be the first Hispanic to do so. Another contender, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is openly gay.
O'Rourke - Popularity - US
O’Rourke also must grapple with the enduring popularity of U.S....
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