Former U.S. congressman Beto O’Rourke announced Thursday he is joining the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election.
He released a video message pledging a positive campaign that embraces the opportunity of facing challenges at what he called a “moment of maximum peril and maximum potential.”
“This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us,” O’Rourke said seated alongside his wife Amy.
He highlighted healthcare, criminal justice reform and ending U.S. involvement in decades-long wars as some of his priorities.
“Perhaps most importantly of all, because our very existence depends on it, we can unleash the ingenuity and creativity of millions of Americans who want to ensure that we squarely confront the challenge of climate change before it’s too late,” O’Rourke said.
And he said that if immigration is a problem, then it is the best problem the United States could have, calling for legal paths for immigrants “to work, to be with family and to flee persecution.”
O’Rourke joins a crowded field of Democrats who want to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 vote.
Those who have already announced include Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Representative Tulsi Gabbard and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
O’Rourke ran for a Senate seat representing the state of Texas in 2018, losing by less than three percentage points to Sen. Ted Cruz.
The first of the state-by-state nominating contests will be in February 2020.