O'Rourke reverses course, renounces fossil fuel donations

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is pledging not to take large donations from the fossil fuel industry — an about-face from his star-making run for Senate in oil-rich Texas last year when he was one of the top candidates backed by the sector.

O’Rourke announced late Wednesday that he’d signed a no-donation-over-$200 pledge from oil-and-gas and coal company executives and outside political groups. Environmental activists had long pressured the former congressman to make such a promise.

O’Rourke also said he’d return all donations worth more than $200 from those sectors that he’d received since launching his presidential bid March 14.

The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics says that while challenging Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last November, O’Rourke accepted $540,000-plus donations from the oil-and-gas sector, second most of any candidate behind Cruz.

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This story has been corrected to show that pledge only applies to oil-and-gas and coal sector CEO and PAC donations above $200, not too all donations from the fossil fuel industry.

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