Outgoing Representative to Congress and failed senatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke has been named the “El Pasoan of the Year” by El Paso Inc.
O’Rourke ran to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm election, but was eventually defeated in a nationally watched race.
During his interview with El Paso Inc., a hometown publication, O’Rourke said that he, “loved using El Paso as the example throughout the campaign.”
While O’Rourke’s time in Congress had been relatively short when he took on his run against Cruz, the El Pasoan raised almost $80 million in donations for his campaign.
That massive fundraising made O’Rourke’s campaign one of the most expensive senatorial campaigns in history.
His defeat by just three percent stung even more, due to the sheer amount of money that the congressman had available to him.
Despite nationwide love for O’Rourke from Democratic voters, other politicians were less than enthusiastic, due to the Texan’s unwillingness to share some of his massive campaign wealth with Democrats more likely to win their seats.
When talking about his hometown, O’Rourke told El Paso Inc that, “there’s so many ways El Paso itself is the answer to this moment and the answer to the question the country is asking about itself: ‘Who are we?’”
However, Fox News reported that O’Rourke’s love of his city was called into question during his campaign due to his support of a real estate deal in 2006 while he served on the El Paso City Council.
The deal was a development plan for the downtown area that was the brainchild of billionaire investor William D. Sanders, according to The New York Times.
O’Rourke called the plan, “one piece of El Paso that was missing on the road back to greatness,” and continued to defend it, despite widespread opposition, the Times reported.
“Mr. O’Rourke was basically the pretty face of this very ugly plan against our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” El Paso local historian David Dorado Romo told the Times.
While O’Rourke continues to garner attention from the media, the former Senate is also the subject of rumors that he could be on the Democratic presidential ballot for 2020.
According to the Boston Herald, O’Rourke’s buzz could turn into a real viable candidacy.
“Beto’s a candidate who’s really exciting people,” Democratic consultant Neil Oxman told the Herald.
The Herald also pointed out that while O’Rourke had a very close race in Texas, a “huge sum” of O’Rourke’s funding for the Texas campaign came from Massachusetts, New York and California.
While the soon to be ex-representative has not announced that he will be running for any kind of office in 2020, he has kept politics at the forefront of his social media, tweeting about the migrants at the border, as well as health care and other issues important to the Democratic base.
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