Who is Beto O'Rourke? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate
Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/
Beto O’Rourke seeks the presidency after gaining national attention during his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, hopes to capitalize on the momentum of his Senate race to charge a new grassroots campaign and "unite a very divided country."
O’Rourke, who’s from the border city of El Paso, routinely refutes President Donald Trump linkage of immigrants to crime and is a vocal opponent of Trump’s proposed border wall. When Trump went to El Paso early 2019 to garner support for his border wall, O’Rourke organized a dueling rally and said that El Paso was one of the safest cities in the United State, "safe not because of walls, but in spite of walls."
O’Rourke served as a councilman in El Paso before heading to Congress. O’Rourke released a $5 trillion plan to address climate change — which he said is the greatest threat to Americans. "We have one last chance to unleash the ingenuity and political will of hundreds of millions of Americans to meet this moment before it’s too late," he said.
Name: Beto O’Rourke
Current occupation: Presidential candidate
Party: Democratic Party
Federal offices: U.S. Representative for Texas’ 16th congressional district, 2013-19
Key votes: Voted against the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; voted for the 2017 Thin Blue Line Act, to include the killing or targeting of a law enforcement officer or first responder as an aggravating factor that justifies a death penalty sentence; voted in 2015 to nullify a bulletin from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that said it had the authority to pursue auto lenders whose policies harm consumers through unlawful discrimination.
State and local offices: El Paso City Council, 2005-11
Private sector work: Founded Stanton Street, a web design and development company in El Paso, Texas. (He’s no longer involved and has no ownership.) O’Rourke also launched a short-lived alternative weekly publication called Stanton Street.
Books authored: "Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico" (2011)
Education: Degree in English literature from Columbia University, 1995
Birth date: Sept. 26, 1972
Personal life: Married to Amy O’Rourke; three children — Ulysses, Molly, Henry
Religion: Roman Catholic
Top issues: Immigration, climate change, reproductive rights
Endorsements: Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas.
Major donors: O’Rourke reported raising $9.4 million in donations during the first 18 days of his campaign, with 98% of donations being below $200.
Miscellaneous: Used to play bass guitar for a punk band called Foss; known for impromptu live-streams of personal events — such as trips to the barber and to the dentist. His full name is Robert Francis O’Rourke, but his friends and family have called him Beto since he was a child.
Campaign website: https://betoorourke.com/
This report will be updated as the campaign continues.