Obama 2.0? Iowa Democrats Invite Beto O’Rourke to the Hawkeye State

The 2018 midterms are over. Naturally, that means that Politics, Inc. is gearing up for 2020. And in Iowa, Democrats have invited the would-be Texas Senator Beto O’Rourke, who lost to Ted Cruz last week, to their state.

The Dallas Morning News reports: “On Monday morning, six days after the El Paso Democrat fell just short against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Polk County Democratic Party in Des Moines — home to one third of Iowa’s Democratic voters — invited him to visit.”

News of the invitation isn’t hard to understand: “[O’Rourke] raised an eye-popping $70 million in a bid to turn Texas purple, falling short by just 2.6 percentage points, the closest a Texas Democrat has come to nabbing a statewide office in two decades.”

Those numbers are impressive; that level of fundraising is more on par with a presidential rather than a Senate race. But can a failed Texas Senator really be turned into a 2020 Democrat to take on President Donald J. Trump?

Some Iowa Democrats think he has presidential qualities reminiscent of Barack Obama: “‘We would love to host him,’ [Polk County Democrats’ Chair Sean] Bagniewski said. ‘He was unapologetically progressive. He’s a young face. He wasn’t afraid to be himself. Democrats are often very poll tested, very consultant-driven. He was more authentic in a way that people haven’t seen since Barack Obama, so he connected with people nationwide in ways that some of our more cautious political leaders haven’t.'”

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll has O’Rourke in the top 3 names that Democrats say they’d like to run against Trump in 2020, trailing only Obama VP Joe Biden and sitting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The Iowa caucuses are at this time set to take place on February 3, 2020.