Group that’s urging Beto O’Rourke to run holding Concord house party

  • FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2018, file photo. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, the 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, speaks during a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas. O’Rourke barged into last year’s Texas Senate race almost laughably early in March 2017. Now, as the onetime punk rocker mulls a much-hyped White House bid for 2020, he’s doing anything he can to stay in the spotlight without formally starting a campaign. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) Eric Gay

For the Monitor
Published: 1/22/2019 4:12:40 PM

A political group that’s urging Beto O’Rourke to run for the Democratic presidential nomination will hold two events next week in New Hampshire – the state that for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House.

The political action committee Draft Beto 2020 – which is not connected with the former congressman from Texas – announced on Tuesday that it will hold a house party Jan. 30, at the Concord home of Democratic activist and attorney Jay Surdukowski.

The group is organizing a second event two days later – on Feb. 1 – at To Share Brewery in Manchester.

Draft Beto 2020 was formed in late November, three weeks after O’Rourke narrowly lost his challenge against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the 2018 midterm elections. The group – one of two trying to convince O’Rourke to run for president – says within a few days of forming, it saw thousands of volunteers from all 50 states sign up.

The PAC held events last week in Iowa, the state that kicks off the presidential primary and caucus calendar. Those events drew national attention.

“We’re very excited to join so many leaders and activists in New Hampshire next week. It’s an opportunity for us to share more about why we believe Beto O’Rourke would make a great president, and to get people involved in our grassroots campaign,” co-chairman Will Herberich told the Monitor.

While the Democratic primary field has expanded in recent weeks – with Sens. Kamala Harris of California and former San Antonio mayor and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro declaring their candidacies and Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York launching presidential exploratory committees – O’Rourke has been traveling across the nation, soul-searching as he mulls a White House bid.

Early public opinion polls suggest O’Rourke would be one of the leading contenders if he launched a presidential campaign, and his ‘regular-guy’ posts from his current trip have gone viral online.

Surdukowski, who has been taking to Twitter for weeks urging O’Rourke to run, touted that the host committee of 25 Democratic activists for the house party at his home “came together in about 24 hours over a holiday weekend. I was pretty astonished that so many people were willing to talk to folks, organizing for somebody who isn’t even declared in the race. So it’s a good sign. I think we’ll have a good crowd.”

“I’d just like to see that the home fires are still warm if and when he wants to make a trip up, whether it’s in February or March or whenever it is,” Surdukowski added. “Keeping the enthusiasm, keeping the message alive, is kind of what I see as the mission, but also showing him that he has folks who want to meet him up here.”

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