Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is changing his tune about the possibility of running for president in 2020.
Prior to his narrow loss in the Texas US Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz, O’Rourke had repeatedly insisted he would not run for president.
Now, he’s leaving the door open.
He said Monday he will finish his term in the House in January and focus with his wife and children on “being together as a family” until then.
“And then Amy and I will think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community,” he said, when asked about a 2020 run by an attendee at a town hall in El Paso that was broadcast live on O’Rourke’s Facebook page.
He then turned to his wife and asked, “Was that OK?”
Asked by reporters if it was fair to describe his answer as a shift for O’Rourke, who leading up to the midterm elections flatly ruled out the possibility of a presidential run, he said: “Yeah, it is.”
“Running for Senate, I was 100% focused on our campaign, winning that race, and then serving the next six years in the United States Senate. That was 100% of our focus,” O’Rourke said. “Now that that is no longer possible, you know, we’re thinking through a number of things. Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out.”
He said that “the best advice that I’ve received from people who have run for and won and run for and lost elections like this is, don’t make any decisions about anything until you’ve had some time to hang with your family and just be human.”
Before the midterm elections, O’Rourke had said he would not run for president.
“I will not be a candidate for president in 2020,” he told MSNBC the day before the election. “That’s, I think, as definitive as those sentences get.”
He also told CBS in an interview aired the Sunday before the election that “win or lose, I’m not running in 2020.”
“We’ve spent the better part of the last two years not with each other, missing birthdays and anniversaries, and time together. Our family could not survive more of that. We need to be together,” he said.
O’Rourke also shot down the possibility of a presidential run in a town hall hosted by CNN in October.
“The answer is no,” O’Rourke said at the town hall.
“Our children are 11, they’re 10, and they’re 7 years old. We’ve told them we’re going to take these almost two years out of our life to run this race, and then we’re devoted and committed to being a family again,” he said.
Pressed again, he said, “It’s a definitive no.”