Democratic operatives in early primary states are starting an effort to draft Beto O’Rourke into the 2020 presidential campaign. And, in another sign that O’Rourke is seen as a viable threat to win the 2020 nomination and the presidency, Republican operatives are “feverishly digging” into O’Rourke’s past, looking for dirt to use against him.
Boyd Brown from South Carolina, a former Democratic National Committee member, said on Monday that he will become national senior adviser to the “Draft Beto” campaign.
On Monday the group also announced the hiring of veteran political consultant Michael Soneff as state director of the campaign in Nevada.
Tyler Jones, the chief strategist for Joe Cunningham’s upset victory in a congressional race last year, will be the campaign’s South Carolina state director. The campaign announced they are interviewing key political operatives to work for O’Rourke in Iowa and New Hampshire also.
Brown was in the South Carolina House of Representatives and was state chairman of Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign in 2016. The former Maryland governor announced last week that he will not run for president and he is endorsing O’Rourke.
Brown called O’Rourke “a rock star,” comparing him to Robert and John F. Kennedy.
“When a once in a generation politician comes along, you’ve got to support him,” Brown said.
O’Rourke has not yet decided if he will run for president next year. It will be a very crowded primary field, and he has done nothing to prepare a presidential campaign infrastructure.
Despite this, Republicans have spent the past several weeks digging into all areas of O’Rourke’s life, from his congressional voting record to a drunken driving arrest in 1998.
One GOP group, Super PAC America Rising, is focusing on O’Rourke’s votes during his six years in Congress. They believe that the voting record will show that he is much more conservative than other potential Democratic 2020 candidates, and they believe publicizing this will hurt the Texan’s chances of winning the nomination.
They are also studying in depth O’Rourke’s family money and his family’s influence on his past campaigns as well as his connections to the oil industry in Texas.
An unnamed official at the Republican National Committee said that they have put together a “hefty” book on O’Rourke as part of their extensive 2020 opposition research “and will continue to add to it.”
The Republicans’ research will probably be used during the Democratic primaries to cause trouble for the former congressman. It’s no surprise that they will do this as O’Rourke is seen as a potential future leader of the Democratic Party, and Republicans want to do all they can to destroy him.