Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke Ends Presidential Bid

Photo caption:

Photo by Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images LightRocket via Getty Images

In ending his presidential run, Beto O'Rourke said, "Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America."

Updated at 6:10 p.m. ET

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke ended his presidential campaign on Friday after struggling to translate the energy from his 2018 Senate bid into a successful White House campaign.

"Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America," O'Rourke wrote in a statement on Medium.

"Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully. 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 was not likely to make this month's debate stage or qualify for future debates. The former three-term congressman had a highly anticipated entrance into the race in March, just months after he came within fewer than three points of knocking off Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in what had been a solidly red state. He attracted top-level staff and initially posted strong fundraising totals, but in recent months, he had cratered in polls and money.

He tried to reboot his campaign in the wake of a deadly August mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas. He tried to run a more national campaign that he promised would be "taking the fight to Donald Trump," whom he called "the greatest threat to this country, bar none."

Beto 2.0 focused heavily on gun control — including a mandatory gun buyback of assault-style weapons. That controversial position drew rebuke from many in the field, as did comments that churches that oppose LGBTQ rights should lose their tax-exempt status.

But those issues failed to ignite any real movement in the race. He now becomes the eighth candidate to end his or her campaign, leaving 17 Democratic hopefuls still in the race.

The once rising star's endorsement could still be sought after though. In his exit post, O'Rourke says, "He 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 that nominee is."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.