Breaking News
More () »

Who is Beto O'Rourke?

Learn more about Beto O'Rourke's life, including why he goes by 'Beto.'

Born: September 26, 1972

Birthplace: El Paso, Texas

Age on Inauguration Day: 48

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website: betoorourke.com

Education: Columbia University (Bachelor’s degree in English)

Professions: Web technology entrepreneur; musician

Public office:  El Paso City Councilman (2005-2011); U.S. Representative from Texas (2013-2019)

Personal: O’Rourke and his wife, Amy, have three children.

Life and career:

  • Narrowly lost U.S. Senate race to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz in 2018 by a margin of 2.6 percent (214,921 vote difference out of more than 8.3 million votes). It was the closest a Democrat has come to winning a U.S. Senate campaign in Texas in 30 years.
  • Vowed during his Senate campaign not to run for president in 2020, but after nearly defeating Cruz, he was courted by prominent Democrats and met with former President Barack Obama.
  • Given name is Robert Francis O’Rourke. He explained in a CNN town hall that the name Beto was a nickname he was given while growing up in El Paso, which has a mostly Hispanic population.
  • Has promoted El Paso’s relationship with neighboring Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. He has also opposed President Trump’s border wall.
  • Supported universal health care, a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks for gun buyers and legalizing marijuana.
  • Told a CNN town hall he would vote to impeach President Trump for Trump’s behavior related to the Russia election interference probe.
  • Has gained following for transparency on social media, from doing Facebook Lives on a bipartisan road trip with Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, to livestreaming his dental cleaning.
  • Guitarist for punk rock band "Foss."
  • Arrested in 1995 for breaking into the University of Texas-El Paso campus and again in 1998 for drunken driving. Both misdemeanors were dismissed. O’Rourke has said his public service has been a way to make up for those.

Sources:  Ballotpedia; Congress.gov; Rolling Stone; Washington Post; U.S. Census Bureau; El Paso Times; Politifact Texas

Before You Leave, Check This Out