Beto O’Rourke defended his decision Wednesday to run for the Democratic nomination for president rather than launch a bid to unseat Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, saying he wants to be in “the most consequential position” to deliver for the United States in its current “moment of truth.”
He also predicted that a Democrat would retake the Texas US Senate seat in the upcoming 2020 election, citing Air Force veteran M.J. Hegar as a likely challenger.
“If she’s the nominee, she will defeat him,” he told “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert.
He went on to say, “There are others who are running who may have just as good a chance. Texas is finally turning out. Our democracy works.”
A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 60% of Texas Democrats say that O’Rourke should challenge Cornyn rather than continue his presidential run.
“Does this one seem easier to you?” Colbert asked O’Rourke of his decision to mount a presidential bid after failing to defeat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz last November.
“Definitely not,” O’Rourke replied.
Though Cruz ending up winning re-election by 2.6 percentage points, O’Rourke received more votes for his 2018 Senate bid than Hillary Clinton did in Texas during the 2016 presidential election, raised a record $80 million and garnered national attention.
“This grassroots, people-powered campaign, didn’t take a dime from a single PAC, represents the kind of movement that it will take to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, and then bring this country together again in 2021,” the former Texas representative said.
O’Rourke also further clarified his stance on impeachment, saying he is for opening an impeachment inquiry but it’s about “getting to the facts,” not “getting rid of the president.”
“If we set the precedent that some people are above the law or beyond the reach of the law, by not impeaching this President, not getting to the facts or the truth, I think that begins the end of this democracy,” he said.