Beto O'Rourke Ends Campaign Pause After El Paso Massacre, With Focus on ICE Raids in Mississippi

WASHINGTON - Beto O’Rourke will return to the campaign trail on Thursday, ending a 12-day hiatus that began when 22 people were gunned down in a bustling Walmart in his hometown of El Paso.After a speech in El Paso about the massacre and his path forward as a presidential candidate, he’ll flying to Mississippi to highlight dismay at raids on meat processing plants that left 680 migrants detained last week.His campaign announced the plan on Wednesday morning.On Saturday night, he will appear at a Democratic dinner in Little Rock, putting him in front of at least 1,000 party activists in one of the states with a Super Tuesday primary.“Obviously I wouldn’t think that any candidate, especially Congressman O’Rourke, would want to see any benefit from something like this,” said Michael John Gray, chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, which recruited O’Rourke months ago to keynote the dinner. But he said, “it has increased his visibility ...because of how he has handled the situation. He has been genuine.”“He’s running for president of the United States. At some point there was going to be his first event after El Paso,” Gray said.Unlike nearly two dozen 2020 rivals, the former three-term congressman skipped the Iowa State Fair last weekend, along with a gun control forum in Des Moines hastily organized after the El Paso killings and a spree in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine people dead hours later.“You’re not going to see him eating a corn dog when 22 people were just murdered by a terrorist in his community,” said O’Rourke campaign spokesman Chris Evans. “There wasn’t a discussion about it. There wasn’t a calculus about it. He said he was coming home.”The foray into Mississippi, though, is clearly strategic, aimed at capitalizing on his renewed attention after months of treading water, his poll numbers stuck in the low single digits.The Mississippi raids came four days after the El Paso massacre, in which the shooter told police he had targeted "Mexicans." In hindsight, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan conceded Sunday, "The timing was unfortunate."  Continue reading...

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