In Iowa, Some Democrats Eager for Beto O'Rourke to Join Crowded 2020 Field, Others Say He's Too Late

AMES, Iowa - If Beto O’Rourke does run for president, he won’t be starting from scratch.Democratic activists in places like Iowa, whose early contests shape the nomination fight, know his name, even if he hasn’t yet joined the growing list of Democrats stopping into their coffee shops and union halls.But he’ll face a decidedly mixed reception, ranging from the ecstatic enthusiasm he generated at rallies during his bid to topple Sen. Ted Cruz last fall to outright irritation from the likes of Marsha Readhead, 74, a retired nurse who attended the Story County Democrats’ soup supper in a church basement in Ames on Saturday night.“We’ve got a lot of candidates in the mill. It’s overwhelming,” she said. “There’s too many people. I’m very worried about it.”Just three of the contenders were in Ames that night: Sen. Kamala Harris, former housing secretary Julian Castro and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. There are plenty more where they came from.There are some party activists eager to see O’Rourke join the fray. The followed the Texas Senate race last fall and were impressed that he came so close to toppling Sen. Ted Cruz last fall, capturing the attention of Democrats nationwide and raising a whopping $80 million in the process.“I really like Warren. I really really like Gillibrand. Kamala’s really great. But if Beto ran that would change everything,” said Shelby Young, vice chair of the Audubon County Democrats in rural western Iowa.On Wednesday, sources close to O’Rourke told The Dallas Morning News that he has ruled out a challenge to Sen. John Cornyn - raising speculation that he'll aim for the White House. He shot to the top tier of potential candidates in the wake of the Cruz race, though he’s been overtaken by Harris and others as they announced campaigns and began stumping.But Young, who is 18 and a college student, said the buzz for O’Rourke remains strong, at least among younger Democrats at the state Senate, where she works as an intern.“He’s such a hot commodity right now,” she said. “He is definitely on everyone’s mind.”  Continue reading...

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