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Democratic stars Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Gillum both met with Obama

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Beto O'Rourke Rally
US
Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) pumps his fist for a
cheering crowd before departing a campaign rally at the Alamo
City Music Hall in San Antonio, Texas.


Chip
Somodevilla/Getty Images



  • Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida, both
    rising Democratic stars and potential 2020 candidates, recently
    met with former President Barack Obama in his Washington
    offices. 
  • Obama endorsed Gillum during his gubernatorial bid this year
    and praised O’Rourke last month, saying the former senate
    candidate reminds him of himself.
  • Both O’Rourke and Gillum, who ran strong, but unsuccessful
    races for Senate and governor, have declined to say whether
    they’ll run for president in 2020. 

Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida, both rising
stars in the Democratic Party from purple and red states, met
with former President Barack Obama in his Washington offices in
recent days, stoking speculation that the two will launch 2020
presidential bids. 

The three-term El Paso congressman — who nearly unseated GOP Sen.
Ted Cruz last month — met with Obama on Nov. 16, the Washington
Post
reported
, while the Florida mayor who narrowly lost his
state’s gubernatorial race met with the former president on
Tuesday,
according
to multiple news outlets. 


O’Rourke
, 46, was by far the best-funded and most competitive
Democrat to run statewide in Texas in years, and he would have
been the first elected statewide in nearly a quarter of a
century. His campaign, which attracted huge national attention
and
raised more money
than any other senate bid in US history,
sparked widespread hope among Democrats that he’ll channel his
popularity into a presidential ticket.

Obama publicly praised O’Rourke last month, telling his former
top adviser David Axelrod that the Texas politician reminded him
of himself and inspired voters because he’s authentic in his
convictions. 

“What I liked most about his race was that it didn’t feel
constantly poll-tested,” Obama said during a podcast discussion
with Axelrod. “It felt as if he based his statements and his
positions on what he believed. And that, you’d like to think, is
normally how things work. Sadly it’s not.”


Read more:


‘I’m so f—ing proud of you guys’: Star Texas Democrat Beto
O’Rourke concedes defeat to Ted Cruz in impassioned speech after
his devastating loss

O’Rourke, who said last week that he’s considering a 2020 bid
despite repeatedly saying otherwise on the campaign trail,

reportedly declined
Obama’s offers to record robo-calls and
stump with O’Rourke and decided against using a video Obama
recorded endorsing him during the senate campaign.

The congressman has expressed skepticism about the effectiveness
of endorsements from politicians outside of his home state and
rarely utilized surrogates on the campaign trail, but he did
receive a series of high-profile endorsements from celebrities,
including Beyonce, LeBron James, and Ellen DeGeneres. 


GILLUMChris
O’Meara/AP

Gillum, 39, also attracted national attention when he stunned the
state by beating out an array of wealthy primary opponents and
waged an aggressive and deeply progressive campaign for governor
against the Trump-endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis. 

It’s unclear what Gillum and the former president discussed in DC
this week, and Gillum has declined to elaborate on his thoughts
about a presidential run. 

“I plan on being married to my wife. That is all I am planning,”
Gillum
said
in response to questions about 2020 during an event at
the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Washington
this week. “What I am committed to doing between now and 2020 is
doing everything I can to make the state of Florida available and
winnable for the democratic nominee for president.”

Obama has also reportedly met with other potential 2020
candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and
Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former New Orleans mayor Mitch
Landrieu. 

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