HOUSTON - Beto O'Rourke made it official Thursday, saying he was joining a crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls.
His candidacy drew praise from the Texas Democratic Party, which tweeted about his close, but unsuccessful, bid to unseat Sen.Ted Cruz during last year's midterm election.
"Even though he lost to Ted Cruz, he'd come much closer than just about any Democrat could so that gives him some credibility he wouldn't otherwise have," said University of Houston political science professor Dr. David Branham.
Branham said while O'Rourke is a viable candidate, he said he thinks O'Rourke will face different challenges from the Senate race with so many well-known and well-funded Democratic competitors.
"He's not going to get the money he got when he ran for Senate. That money is just not going to be there," Branham said.
But Branham said he believes O'Rourke could ultimately have another position in mind as he launches this presidential bid.
"He may not just be running for president, he may be running for vice president. The Democratic field is so diverse, the ticket will likely have a man and a woman. He could be a good candidate for Kamala Harris to add to the ticket," Branham said.
Many Texas Democrats hoped O'Rourke would sit out the presidential race and run against Sen. John Cornyn in 2020.
"I think that John Cornyn is happy no one of Beto's status is going to run against him. This will help John Cornyn and help the Republicans," Branham said.
O'Rourke is holding a Texas kickoff of his presidential campaign March 30 in El Paso.
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