Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman and failed Senate candidate who for some reason decided to run for president, didn't have the most compelling campaign launch when he announced his candidacy in March. He did, however, raise a lot money, and generated considerable buzz in the media, driven by speculation that his "Kennedyesque," "white Obama" vibe might be exactly what Democratic primary voters are looking for in 2020.
In recent weeks, however, Beto's campaign has floundered. He's been overtaken in the polls by Pete Buttigieg, the surging mayor of South Bend, Ind., another young, inspiring white male candidate who has the added benefit, in the identity-driven arena of Democratic politics, of being gay.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden recently entered the race, and has emerged as a formidable frontrunner in this still-early stage of the campaign. O'Rourke, meanwhile, has been struggling to make 8th graders laugh, and recently weathered a scandal involving a baby turtle. BuzzFeed reports that, nearly two months after announcing his candidacy, Beto doesn't even have a full-time campaign manager, and the campaign itself is "in flux" following the departure of two top aides.
This week, according to THE POLITICO, Beto finally hired a digital director, Rob Flaherty, who worked on Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign in 2016. But the tone of the media coverage has shifted dramatically since the candidate entered the race. The report notes, for example, that Flaherty's hiring comes at a time when O'Rourke is attempting "to find his footing and organize a viable campaign in a growing field of Democrats."
Ouch. So much has changed since Beto graced the cover over Vanity Fair. At this point, he might be regretting not only the fact that he's straight, but also his decision to abandon his burgeoning career as a whimsical travel blogger.