Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat whose near miss Senate bid last year catapulted him to national fame, said on Tuesday that he would decide by the end of February whether to run for president in 2020.
In an interview in Times Square with Oprah Winfrey, who prodded him to run throughout the chat, Mr. O’Rourke said family considerations were the only obstacle to a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I have been thinking about running for president,” he said, to considerable applause inside a small theater where Ms. Winfrey was taping a special with Mr. O’Rourke and other boldfaced names like Bradley Cooper and Melinda Gates.
“And what’s the conclusion?” she pressed. “Are you running?”
“We want to play as great a role as possible in making sure that this country lives up to our expectations,” Mr. O’Rourke said of himself and his family. He pledged to decide one way or the other by the end of the month.
In the months since his narrow defeat in the race against Senator Ted Cruz, Mr. O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, has been considering a presidential run in 2020, weighing whether his message of generational uplift and red-state liberalism would translate in a Democratic primary.
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Unlike many prospective rivals — who have either declared their intentions or are taking more traditional steps toward a run, like building campaigns-in-waiting and assembling early-state teams — Mr. O’Rourke has done little formal preparation for a bid. Instead, he has driven around the country, alone, interacting with strangers and publishing journal entries online about his travels.