Beto O’Rourke drops out of presidential race

Politics

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) ⁠— Beto O’Rourke is dropping out of the presidential race.

The Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman tweeted Friday that his service to the country will “not be as candidate or the nominee.”

“Our campaign has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively,” O’Rourke tweeted. “In that spirit: I am announcing that my service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee.”

In a series of tweets and in a letter published Friday afternoon, O’Rourke thanks his supporters and campaign staff.

“Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully.” O’Rourke wrote. “Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.”

Two weeks ago, O’Rourke held a counter-rally as President Donald Trump addressed supporters in Dallas. O’Rourke staged the “Rally Against Fear” the evening of Oct. 17 at The Theatre at Grand Prairie in suburban Dallas around the same time Trump was holding an event of his own at the American Airlines Center, home to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

In February, the Republican president flew to O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso for a rally at a packed arena in support of expanding the U.S.-Mexico border wall. As he spoke, O’Rourke headlined an event that drew hundreds protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policy at a nearby baseball diamond.

“I decided to run for President because I believed that I could help bring a divided country together in common cause to confront the greatest set of challenges we’ve ever faced,” O’Rourke wrote Friday. “I also knew that the most fundamental of them is fear — the fear that Donald Trump wants us to feel about one another; the very real fear that too many in this country live under; and the fear we sometimes feel when it comes to doing the right thing, especially when it runs counter to what is politically convenient or popular.

O’Rourke had been struggling to break through a crowded Democratic field. He entered the race in March with buzz from his narrow 2018 Senate loss to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in Texas.

But as the excitement over his candidacy began to fade, O’Rourke was forced to stage a “reintroduction” of his campaign to reinvigorate it. After a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, he began to center his campaign on gun violence prevention.

President Trump took note of O’Rourke dropping out of the presidential race, tweeting, “Oh no, Beto just dropped out of race for President despite him saying he was ‘born for this.; I don’t think so!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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