Beto O'Rourke, who gave Ted Cruz a run for his money in his race for the U.S. Senate in 2018, announced he's entering the presidential race.
"I'm really proud of what El Paso did and what El Paso represents", he wrote.
While he narrowly lost his U.S. Senate race to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz a year ago, O'Rourke managed to build a nationwide following with his unconventional, optimistic style combined with a populist message that brought in nearly US$80 million in primarily small donations.
"Middle schools are one of the fastest-growing markets for marijuana sales today", O'Rourke said Thursday at a campaign event in Iowa.
O'Rourke heads to Iowa amid some signs his popularity there has waned in the past several weeks, as he has publicly deliberated about a run while more than a dozen Democrats leapt into the race.
O'Rourke, a 46-year-old former three-term U.S. representative from West Texas, made the announcement online. "It's a big part of why I'm running".
And if O'Rourke declares his candidacy, the last main piece of the 2020 election puzzle will be former vice president Joe Biden, who has said he will reveal his political plans soon.
Of late, O'Rourke has tried to distance himself from some left-leaning candidates, such as Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA, whom Trump has derided as "socialists". "It's the only way I know to meet that challenge", O'Rourke told the magazine.
Meanwhile, a source tied to O'Rourke's campaign confirmed to Reuters that the ex-congressman would be running.