O’Rourke: I Don’t Want to Run for President

Beto O'Rourke / Getty Images

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) says he doesn't want to run for president, even if he loses in his upstart Senate race this fall.

O'Rourke has been the subject of at least a dozen glowing media profiles as he seeks to knock off Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to a statewide office since 1994. His large campaign crowds and unabashed progressive agenda have excited Democrats desperate to break through in the Lone Star State, while Cruz has said his opponent is too left-wing for Texas voters.

Liberal magazine Vanity Fair declared in an article published Wednesday that O'Rourke had to be considered a serious presidential contender in 2020, "even if he loses."

But O'Rourke, who represents a district in the West Texas town of El Paso, told the New York Times he didn't have any desire to do that.

"No," O'Rourke said while riding in the car, amid speculation about a future White House run. "I don’t want to do that. No."

Of course, no candidate would say he planned to run for president in the middle of a Senate race, for fear of upsetting voters who thought the candidate wanted to use the position as a stepping stone.

O'Rourke has often attacked Cruz, who is in his first term, for his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, saying he "visited every single one of the 99 counties of Iowa instead of being here." Cruz announced his presidential bid in 2015, a little more than two years after his freshman term started.

Cruz wound up winning the second-most Republican delegates behind Donald Trump.