Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) spoke recently with failed Democrat Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum as the Texas congressman considers a run for the White House in 2020, according to a Tuesday report.
NBC News’s Garrett Haake and Mike Memoli write that O’Rourke, who met with former President Barack Obama in November, spoke for the first time with Gillum by telephone, agreeing that the future of the Democrat Party should be “young and unapologetically progressive.”
The former Tallahassee mayor is said to have initiated the call with O’Rourke. Reports of the conservations come after BuzzFeed News revealed O’Rourke chatted with another prominent African-American political figure, progressive civil rights activist and Baptist minister Al Sharpton. Rachel Noerdlinger, a spokesperson for Sharpton, confirmed that two had a “great conversation” and plan to sit down “within the next couple of weeks.”
Earlier Tuesday, NBC News reported O’Rourke narrowly routed former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in an early 2020 presidential straw poll conducted by progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org. 15.6 percent of respondents said they support O’Rourke, while Biden and Sanders received 14.9 and 13.1 percent, respectively.
Not only are progressive voters energized by a possible O’Rourke White House bid in 2020, but so are some of the Democrat Party’s most prominent fundraisers. Chicago financier Louis Susman, an earlier support of former President Obama, has already voiced his support for the progressive Texan, telling CNN last week that “It’s time to pass the torch to a new generation.” “I have nothing against the Bidens and Kerrys of the world and all of these senators that are looking at it, but I think the Beto example is what inspired people and what we are going to need,” he said.
Asked during an El Paso town hall last month whether he is considering running, O’Rourke said he is focused on spending time with his family and serving out the remainder of his term as congressman, adding that after January 3rd, he and his wife will think deeply “about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community.”