02:55 - Source: CNN
Breaking down Beto O'Rourke's big bet on climate change
Washington CNN —  

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will speak at a CNN town hall at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 21.

CNN’s Dana Bash will moderate the town hall from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman who lost a high-profile Senate race to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz last year, announced his long-anticipated presidential campaign in March.

He enjoyed a strong launch, raising $6.1 million on his first day in the race and calling for the national hierarchy “to be broken apart” at his first rally in his hometown of El Paso. But a CNN poll last month of Democratic or Democratic-leaning independent voters shows O’Rourke in fifth place with 6% – a drop from 13% in the previous poll.

After facing criticism for having been found to accept the second highest number of campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry, O’Rourke signed a pledge earlier this month to reject oil and gas executives’ donations on top of continuing his Senate race policy of not accepting donations from outside groups and super PACs. He also unveiled a plan to combat climate change that same week that would invest $5 trillion in infrastructure and innovation projects over 10 years with the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

O’Rourke has also strategically endorsed some more progressive initiatives, such as a Medicare expansion plan that would provide universal coverage without the elimination of private insurance central to the far-left Medicare-for-all plan.

He told reporters last week that the Mueller report strengthened his stance on impeaching President Donald Trump – a contrast to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that Democrats should focus on winning on mainstream Democratic issues instead of pursuing impeachment.

Within the Democratic field, O’Rourke defended fellow 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg last week after homophobic protesters interrupted a campaign event in Texas.

After Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, another 2020 rival, said at a CNN town hall last month that he supported non-violent and violent offenders being able to vote during their prison sentences, O’Rourke said the nation should “rethink” non-violent offenders losing their voting rights while serving their jail time.