What You Need To Know: Beto O'Rourke

Who is Beto O'Rourke? 5 things to know

Beto O’Rourke announced March 14 that he is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The Texas Democrat unsuccessfully ran for Senate against Republican Ted Cruz in the 2018 election. At the time, he said he would not run for the nation’s highest office, but that changed by Nov. 26.

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“Running for Senate, I was 100 percent focused on our campaign, winning that race and then serving the next six years in the United States Senate,” O’Rourke said at a town hall in El Paso, Texas. “That was 100 percent of our focus. Now that that is no longer possible, you know, we’re thinking through a number of things. Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out.”

Here are some things to know about O’Rourke.

He’s a native Texan.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Sept. 26, 1972, O’Rourke is a fourth-generation native of the state, according to his Senate campaign website. O’Rourke spent some time in New York, but ultimately moved back to his home town and co-founded Stanton Street Technology Group, a software and technology company. His wife, Amy O’Rourke, was president of the company from January 2013 to April 2017.

He gave up his House seat to run for Senate.

O’Rourke was elected to represent Texas’ 16th Congressional District in 2012. He ran again in 2014 and 2016, serving three terms before deciding to run for Senate in 2018.

He is married with three children.

O’Rourke married his wife in 2005. They are parents to two sons, Ulysses and Henry, and a daughter named Molly.

Beto O'Rourke announced he is considering running for president in 2020.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

He was arrested twice in his 20s.

Although he was not convicted in either case, O’Rourke was arrested for burglary in 1995 and charged with a DUI in 1998.

“Some 20 years ago, I was charged with driving under the influence and, during my college years, I jumped a fence at the University of Texas at El Paso which resulted in a burglary charge,” O’Rourke told the Palestine Herald-Press in 2017.

“I was not convicted of either. Both incidents were due to poor judgement and I have no excuse for my behavior then. However, since then, I have used my opportunities to serve my community and my state. I’m grateful for the second chance and believe that we all deserve second chances.”

He was in a punk rock band. 

The band Foss was formed by O’Rourke and three others -- Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Arlo Klahr and Mike Stevens. The future congressman was on bass. Their EP, “The El Paso Pussycats,” was released in 1993 while O’Rourke was a student at Columbia University. 

Efforts of the Texas GOP to shame him for his musical past backfired, with many on Twitter finding it appealing.

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