O’Rourke Rockets Into Second Place in CNN Ranking of 2020 Candidates

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) on Thursday jumped from tenth to second place in CNN rankings of prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

By placing O’Rourke second on his monthly “power rankings” of potential Democratic candidates, CNN’s Chris Cillizza put him ahead of many others who had been considered leading contenders for the 2020 nomination. The Texas Congressman now ranks ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

As Cillizza put it:

It’s Beto O’Rourke’s world, and every other Democrat is just living in it.”
Then the CNN political analyst added:

“O’Rourke has that thing that every candidate — Democrat or Republican — wants: organic energy. He generates excitement everywhere he goes — and is being urged to run by activists from all over the Democratic base.”

“He’s the flavor of the moment, no question. But can he turn that initial excitement into a full-fledged campaign and sustain momentum over the next year-plus?”

O’Rourke, who ranked tenth last month in CNN’s rankings, now has only one potential candidate ahead of him: Sen. Kamala Harris of California.  Every potential candidate on CNN’s list has said they are considering a presidential run, but none of them has formally announced that they are definitely going to run.

O’Rourke gained huge amounts of national attention — one might say adulation — during his unsuccessful race to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas this year. Since then he has met with many prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Rev. Al Sharpton. Many other prominent Democrats, analysts, operatives and even media personalities have told him he should run in 2020.

Although Beto originally said, after November 6, that he was not interested in a White House run in 2020, he has since changed his position, saying that he would not rule anything out. 

Recent opinion polls of prospective Democratic 2020 candidates have also shown O’Rourke jumping over other contenders. In all of them he has been at or near the top, competing with Biden and Sanders.