• Beto served two terms on the El Paso City Council before running for U.S. Congress in 2012, taking on a 16-year incumbent and winning.
• In Congress, he successfully enacted laws that improved access to health care for veterans, added urgent mental health resources for service members and permanently protected thousands of acres of natural land.
• As a leading voice on immigration and a lifelong advocate for the U.S.-Mexico border, Beto organized a 2,000 person Father’s Day march to Tornillo in 2018 to raise awareness of family separation. He would continue returning to the camp until all of the children were successfully released.
• In 2017, Beto launched a historic 19-month campaign to represent all 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate. Running the largest grassroots campaign the state had ever seen, he rejected all money from political action committees and personally visited each one of the 254 counties of Texas as he held over 350 town hall discussions. Beto ultimately received more votes than any Democrat in Texas history as he excited thousands of first-time voters to go to the polls.
On March 13, El Paso TV station KTSM-TV reported that O'Rourke had decided to run for President in 2020. O'Rourke confirmed speculation the following day by announcing that he was entering the presidential race. However, he announced the end of his campaign for president on November 1, 2019.
In 2018, O'Rourke was nominated as a candidate for the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate race against the Republican incumbent, Ted Cruz. When he entered the race, O'Rourke vowed to not accept PAC contributions for his campaign and to run a positive campaign instead of focusing on the negative of the opposing party. He set a record for most votes ever cast for a Democrat in Texas history.
O'Rourke campaigned in all 254 counties in Texas, and despite not accepting any PAC donations, he raised $70 million for the campaign, more than any other U.S. Senate candidate in history. Although he was considered a long shot candidate, O'Rourke was only narrowly defeated by Cruz, with 48.72 percent of the vote compared to 50.93 percent for Cruz.
Before being elected to Congress, O'Rourke served on the El Paso City Council from June 2005 to June 2011.
He attended Columbia University and graduated in 1995 with a degree in English literature. Upon graduation, O'Rourke co-founded Stanton Street Technology, an internet services and software company, in El Paso.
- Q&A with Beto O’Rourke