O'Rourke Turns to Traditionally Red States to Reboot Campaign

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke turned to an unconventional strategy to try to reboot his campaign over the weekend, visiting Oklahoma while most of the other candidates are courting votes in early primary states.

Following the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso on Aug. 3, O'Rourke left the campaign trail and returned to the Sun City.

"I am going to states where you don't have the presence of presidential candidates, which means that those people don't have a seat at the table. They don't get to help shape the national conversation, and the policies that follow," O'Rourke said. "And it is a lesson that I learned from being in Texas, going to each one of the 254 counties."

With Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina all coming before Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, O'Rourke said he didn't know how his new strategy would impact his place among the other candidates.

"I don't know to be honest with you. I just have to do what I know to be right," he said.

During his trip to Tulsa, O'Rourke toured the Greenwood District. It's the site of one of the worst instances of racial violence in U.S. history, when dozens of people were killed in 1921.

O'Rourke also walked through the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, at the site of the bombing of the federal building in 1995. He made the decision to visit areas of domestic terror after the El Paso shooting and to take on the president directly.

"Donald Trump is the greatest threat that the United States of America faces. We saw that come home to us in El Paso on Aug. 3," O'Rourke said. "The hatred, the violence that he has welcomed and inspired, not just in my community, but across this country."

O'Rourke spoke to overflow crowds at public events in both Tulsa and Norman, Oklahoma.

While he can still pack a venue, the question was whether he could turn crowds into higher poll numbers. He qualified for the third Democratic primary debate next month, but struggled in the first two.

O'Rourke remained optimistic, and said he believed his home state is in play

"I am confident that as the nominee for the Democratic party for president, we can win those electoral college votes, and we can defeat Donald Trump," he said. "This is Texas' moment to shine, and play a leading role for the United States of America."

Contact Us