Sen. Amy Klobuchar welcomed Beto O’Rourke to the 2020 presidential race on Thursday, telling CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an interview that she believes more competition in the Democratic primary is good for the party and that she isn’t worried about the former congressman’s fundraising prowess.
O’Rourke’s long awaited entrance makes the Texas Democrat who lost his Senate race to Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 the wild card in the 2020 presidential race, injecting a largely unknown quantity into an already large – and growing – field of Democratic candidates.
Klobuchar, asked about O’Rourke on Thursday, let out a hearty, “Welcome!”
“I think that competition is good in our party,” the senator from Minnesota said, telling Harlow that former President Barack Obama has been telling 2020 candidates that he believes the more the merrier in the nomination fight.
“Having a number of strong candidates in an election and in a race is important, and then the voters are going to be able to evaluate it,” she said. “And, of course, he’s someone that comes, like I do, from the center of the country. I think it’s important to have people that are running from different parts of the country.”
Klobuchar said she does not believe O’Rourke tightens her lane – “I don’t think there’s lanes yet” – and dodged a question about his ability to raise money after he raised and spent $80 million in his Texas Senate race.
“We are doing well. We were able to raise a million dollars in just the first 48 hours after I announced, and I’m running my own race,” Klobuchar said. “I think there’s going to be people that … have their own money. There are people in that are going to have resources from past elections and in terms of having lists and things because he was running against Ted Cruz, and I just view it as you run your own race, you appeal to people.”
On former Vice President Joe Biden, Klobuchar said, “I think competition is good for the party, and that’s going to be up to him. He was a great vice president.”
Klobuchar was not the only 2020 candidate to welcome O’Rourke on Thursday.
“I think the voters will decide,” said Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is also running for president. “As far as I am concerned, the more the merrier. It will be a good race.”
Harris fundraised off O’Rourke’s entrance into the race, sending an email to supporters that says she looks “forward to engaging in substantive debates with each of these candidates – including the newest to join the race today, Beto O’Rourke – and ultimately selecting a Democratic nominee who will take on and beat Donald Trump in November of 2020.”