Beto O'Rourke to crisscross home state of Texas for official campaign kickoff on Saturday

O'Rourke will host three rallies in El Paso, Houston and Austin on Saturday.

March 29, 2019, 10:51 AM

A little over two weeks after announcing a run for president, Beto O’Rourke is bringing the campaign trail home to Texas on Saturday, where the former congressman shot to stardom last year.

O’Rourke, 46, is labeling the sprint through the Lone Star State as the official kick-off to his grassroots campaign -- making stops in three cities in the span of 12 hours.

The ambitious effort by O’Rourke starts in his hometown of El Paso at 10 am. local time. From there, he will travel just under 800 miles to Houston for a 5 p.m. rally at Texas Southern University.

He will cap off the day with a final rally nearly 200 miles away in the state capital, Austin, at 9 p.m.

On Twitter, the native Texan announced that his supporters have organized more than 1,000 watch parties “in every state and territory” for the day’s events.

The former Texas congressman has had a busy schedule since announcing he will seek the Democratic nomination for president in a March 14 video, visiting a total of eight states, including key battleground areas like Iowa and New Hampshire.

PHOTO: Beto O'Rourke speaks during a meet-and-greet at Pour Coffeehouse, March 24, 2019, in Las Vegas.
Beto O'Rourke speaks during a meet-and-greet at Pour Coffeehouse, March 24, 2019, in Las Vegas. O'Rourke is campaigning for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A Quinnipiac University poll of the Democratic presidential field released this week shows O’Rourke is in third place nationally with 12 percent of voters saying they would support him in 2020. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced whether he'll run for president, topped that list with 29 percent.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ranked second with 19 percent, according to the poll.

Earlier this week, Jen O’Malley Dillon was brought on O’Rourke's campaign manager.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke looks on during a meet and greet at Plymouth State College, March 20, 2019, in Plymouth, N.H.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke looks on during a meet and greet at Plymouth State College, March 20, 2019, in Plymouth, N.H.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

“We’re excited that Jen O'Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said on Monday. “Her leadership, experience and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

O’Malley Dillon previously served as President Barack Obama’s deputy campaign manager during his re-election campaign in 2012.

Her experience brings a more traditional approach to the campaign style O’Rourke used during his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Ted Cruz in 2018. During that cycle, O’Rourke avoided traditional strategists and relied on his appeal, which catapulted him to national stardom within the Democratic Party and shattered fundraising records.

In an email to supporters on March 18, his campaign said it had raised a historic $6.1 million in 24 hours. Two days later, O’Rourke said that total came from 128,000 individual donors with an average contribution of $47.

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