From “Beto 2020 Calls Multiply Among Dems,” posted on The Hill by Amie Parnes on 11.11: “’I hate to say this because it would piss off a lot of Democrats, but the fact is we have so many people and we really have nobody who’s thrilling, nobody who would send a thrill up Chris Matthews‘ leg except for Beto,’ a Democratic strategist said, referencing the MSNBC Hardball host who expressed such excitement about hearing former President Obama speak.
“’You know how I know? I had friends calling me to ask about him. I would overhear conversations about him. He’s generating the kind of buzz we haven’t seen since ‘hope and change’,” the strategist added.
“Even Republicans express surprise at O’Rourke’s performance.
“’He was able to raise an enormous act of money and that alone separates him from the crowd,’ said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist based in Texas. ‘He has a bit of a star quality to him. People in Texas were mesmerized and moved by him. [And] the fact that he lost by 3 percent is impressive.
“O’Rourke finds himself in an unusual situation. Most candidates who lose a race typically go back to the drawing board on career plans. Sometimes, with luck, they can run for the same office again. But rarely do candidates who lose on a lower scale have aspirations for a larger office — never mind the presidency.
“Those who know O’Rourke say he has no plans on running for president and had his sights purely set on winning the Senate seat. When he met with campaign aides earlier this week there was no talk of a White House bid. In an interview earlier this week, he reaffirmed that he has no intention of running.
“’I will not be a candidate for president in 2020,’ O’Rourke told MSNBC. ‘That’s, I think, as definitive as those sentences get.’
“But if he chooses not to run, some strategists say he could miss a prime opportunity.
“’He has to think hard about it because moments like this don’t come around often in politics and they tend to be fleeting,’ said Democratic strategist David Wade, who served as a senior aide to John Kerry.
“Wade compared O’Rourke’s moment with the time Obama captured Democrats’ imagination when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.”