Five things to know about Beto O'Rourke

This time last year, Beto O'Rourke
was an obscure Congressman representing a Texas city that most Texans forget about.
But Mr O'Rourke is about to announce a presidential bid to a crowd of adoring fans that most candidates could only dream of having.
Mr O'Rourke confirmed to local reporters in his hometown of El Paso
that he would jump into the Democratic primary for 2020.
'I'm really proud of what El Paso did and what El Paso represents,' he told KTSM.
'It's a big part of why I'm running.'
So here's five things you ought to know about Beto O'Rourke
.
He lost his last election
Texas is the jewel in the Republican Party's crown, a massive state that serves as fool's gold for all Democrats aspiring to win in.
Because of that, Beto O'Rourke
's bid to oust Senator Ted Cruz
, a conservative icon and former presidential candidate, was seen as an exercise in futility, especially since he had to retire as a congressman to do so.
But Mr O'Rourke inspired hundreds of thousands of apathetic non-voters in Texas to show up to the polls.
And in the end, he lost the race by barely two per cent, the best result for a Democrat in the Lone Star state in a generation.
He had barely finished his concession speech in November before Democrats were talking about a presidential run.
Why is he called Beto?
You could not get a more Irish name than Robert O'Rourke.
But rather than go by Bob or Robbie or Bert, Mr O'Rourke goes by Beto.
Beto is the typical diminutive for Spanish-speaking people named Roberto or Umberto or Alberto.
And Mr O'Rourke is from El Paso, a city literally on the border where people go to Mexico to get lunch.
Mr O'Rourke may not be Hispanic, but 82 per cent of El Paso is. Being nicknamed Beto is an inevitability there.
He used to be in a grunge band
As a young man Beto O'Rourke
founded a grunge-rock band in El Paso called Foss.
Foss went on two tours and recorded a 7-inch EP, with Mr O'Rourke featuring as their lanky bassist.
A long-haired, goatee-wearing O'Rourke featured on the EP cover in a floral dress, a classically grunge look that the Republican Party mocked him for.
Foss were, by most accounts, terrible.
But lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala went on to fame and fortune as the Grammy-award winning frontman of prog-rockers At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta.
He gets social media
No politician has utilised social media as effectively as Beto O'Rourke
.
While others appear stiff or ingenuine when making Instagram stories or Facebook posts, O'Rourke is a natural.
Videos of him skateboarding in a car park or air-drumming outside a fast food restaurant have gone viral in the best ways.
He livestreamed a drive from El Paso to Washington DC with a Republican congressman friend.
And an impassioned speech he gave on kneeling NFL players was shared around the world.
Mr O'Rourke has proven extraordinary at raising money, breaking previous records for Senate candidates.
But he has shown that money is not necessary for political candidates if you have enough fans to share your message online.
He could win
He lost his last race, but Mr O'Rourke could give Donald Trump a real scare.
He's 6'4' and frequently described as Kennedy-esque, an inspiring speaker with dashing good looks.
He's also fiercely passionate and energetic, inviting supporters to join him on his morning runs.
And as a famous local of America's second biggest border town
, he can negate Donald Trump's biggest issue – the need for a border wall with Mexico.
But before he takes on Mr Trump, he'd have to get past a crowded Democratic field.
Mr O'Rourke's stock has fallen in recent polling, with the heat cooling off after his narrow loss in November.
He still has to beat Bernie Sanders
, Kamala Harris
, Cory Booker
, Elizabeth Warren
and many more.
And former Vice President Joe Biden
is reportedly close to an announcement himself
.
The first vote in the Democratic primary will take place in Iowa next February.
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