Beto O’Rourke insists he hasn’t made his mind up about running for president in 2020.
But he is carefully weighing his options, if recent news stories are any indication.
The Washington Post reports that O’Rourke met with former president Barack Obama at the former president’s offices in Washington on Nov. 16.
The meeting came as the Post reports that several key Obama aides were eager to push the U.S. Representative from El Paso to run after his surprisingly strong showing in his loss to Ted Cruz in the Texas U.S. Senate race last month.
Though O’Rourke said during his Senate campaign that he didn’t have his eye on the presidency, he changed his tune at a town hall in El Paso last week and said that he and his wife had “made a decision not to rule anything out .”
Other reports indicate top Democratic strategists instead are telling O’Rourke, 46, to steer his attention to a potential U.S. Senate run against three-term senior Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who has never collected less than 55 percent against any of his earlier Democratic opponents.
Obviously, Obama’s involvement in a potential “Beto in 2020” presidential campaign would be critical. During his recent senatorial race, O’Rourke declined help from Obama during the race. The Post reports that O’Rourke told Obama he wanted his campaign to be “by Texans, for Texans.”
And while an O’Rourke presidential run still might seem far-fetched, it is receiving surprising political bounce. A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released Tuesday found that O’Rourke is the third most popular Democrat among potential 2020 presidential candidates, trailing behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
So what’s next for O’Rourke? Does he strike while the political iron is hot, or weigh his chances for what figures to be a long political career in the future?