O’Rourke kicks off presidential campaign in Iowa, Trump slams hands

Beto O'Rourke, the youthful former three-term U.S. congressman from Texas, kicked off his first day campaigning for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa, where he told voters that the biggest challenges pledged to tackle crises in the economy, climate and democracy.

“The foundational challenge to get all of this done is to fix our democracy. Only when it works and only when each one of us can work within it, will we be able to meet these threats,” he said to supporters in a packed Keokuk coffee shop on Thursday (March 14).

The 46-year-old O’Rourke gained a national following with his long-shot election battle against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz last year. His long-shot bid drew widespread media attention and excited voters in a party desperate for fresh political faces. O’Rourke lost the race by less than 3 percentage points, the tightest U.S. Senate contest in the state in four decades.

Asked about O’Rourke’s bid, Trump ridiculed his rival, telling reporters, “Well I think he has a lot of hand movement. I’ve never seen so much hand movement. I said, ‘Is he crazy? Or is that just the way he acts?”

Early opinion polls on the 2020 race have consistently ranked O’Rourke in the top tier of contenders, behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet announced whether he is running, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Starting with the Iowa caucuses next year, the Democrat who amasses the majority of delegates nationwide in a series of contests will be nominated at the party’s convention in Milwaukee in the summer, and will likely face Trump in November’s general election.

(Production: Arlene Eiras)

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