Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) said Friday that he is no closer to deciding whether to run for president and that he has no firm timetable for reaching a decision, sharing with constituents at a town hall meeting that an expected “epiphany” has not occurred.
O’Rourke, who lost a hard-fought Senate race last month, spoke in El Paso at his final town hall after six years as a congressman.
“Interestingly, though it’s now five-plus weeks since the election, I’m no closer to deciding,” O’Rourke said. “I thought I would have a level of clarity or an epiphany at this point.”
He said that might be because of several busy weeks in Congress, where he said he is “trying to finish the job and make sure that we honor our responsibilities to the people of El Paso.”
“I’m hopeful that after that, spending some time with family, I’ll know what I can best do for, you know, first and foremost, my family, and then the country.”
Asked if he had a “hard date” on making an announcement, O’Rourke said no.
Though he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), O’Rourke enthralled Democrats well beyond Texas during his campaign and demonstrated an ability to raise large sums of money.
If he moves forward with a White House bid, O’Rourke will join what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field that may include several members of both chambers of Congress.
The audience at Friday’s town hall, held at a high school, included at least one woman wearing a black T-shirt with “Beto for President” spelled out in silver glitter.
O’Rourke arrived to cheers by the high school’s cheerleading squad and members of the drum line in a receiving line outside a school entrance. Inside, he was greeted by a mariachi band from the school.
It was his 103rd town hall as a congressman.