Born to Fail: Beto O'Rourke Achieves Rare Trifecta of Political Defeat

Has lost campaigns for governor, president, and U.S. Senate

November 9, 2022

Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke accomplished something remarkable on Tuesday. Though he didn't win his campaign against Gov. Greg Abbott (R., Texas), the widely anticipated loss was Beto's third failed bid for public office in as many election cycles since 2018—a trifecta of political failure.

Major networks called the race for Abbott shortly after polls closed at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. By now the feeling of defeat must be a familiar one for Beto, who lost to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) in 2018, then ran for president in 2020 and dropped out months before the Iowa caucuses. He raised almost $200 million from Democratic donors over the course of these failed campaigns.

"Man, I'm just born to be in it," Beto told Vanity Fair in 2019 before announcing his unsuccessful candidacy for president. Former president Barack Obama was reportedly "enamored" by Beto—a fellow Ivy League graduate—in the early stages of the Democratic primary, and worried that his old running mate Joe Biden "would embarrass himself on the campaign trail."

Reporter Sara Gonzales asked Beto on Tuesday if the failed candidate would stop running for office in Texas after losing his second statewide race; he declined to answer.

READ MORE: How to Write the Perfect Glossy Profile of Beto O’Rourke

This post was originally published Nov. 8 at 10 p.m.