Beto O'Rourke is the 'Anti-Trump,' Has What Democrats Want for 2020, Says Ted Cruz's Campaign Manager

As Beto O'Rourke continues to weigh whether to throw his hat into the ever-expanding ring of Democratic 2020 candidates, the former congressman has received an endorsement from an unlikely source—the former campaign manager of the man who beat him to a Senate seat last year.

"I'm not an expert in Democrat politics but I can tell you he has what they want," Jeff Roe, the campaign manager for Ted Cruz, the Republican who defeated O'Rourke in a hotly contested Senate race in Texas, told The Wall Street Journal for a report published Wednesday. "He's the anti-Trump."

Despite losing to Cruz, the fact that O'Rourke broke fundraising records and pushed the Republican close in a ruby red state in which Democrats have not won a state-wide race in a quarter of a century earned him national recognition. There are currently two groups attempting to draft him to run for the Democratic nomination to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 election and he has been praised by and met with former President Barack Obama.

While he ruled out a run for the White House during his headline-grabbing Senate campaign, the former representative from El Paso has made it clear since his midterms defeat that he is deciding whether he can replicate his appeal across all 50 states. As well as embarking on a road trip through the American Southwest and taking on Trump's push for a border wall, the former punk guitarist has released a series of stream of consciousness Medium posts, including one alluding to a run in Washington.

Speaking at the University of Texas at El Paso on Wednesday, O'Rourke said that "shortly, sooner than later, I can have a decision one way or the other," according to a Texas Tribune reporter.

.@BetoORourke, during an appearance Tuesday at @UTEP, was apparently asked about 2020 and said he's hoping "shortly, sooner than later, I can have a decision one way or the other," per video posted to Instagram.

— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) January 30, 2019

A decision could come when he sits down for a high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey in New York City's Time Square on Tuesday. Already ranking highly in early polling of actual and rumored Democratic 2020 candidates, at least one of his potential rivals is reportedly already going on the attack.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who declared her intent to run earlier this month, told a private dinner of state lawmakers in the key early caucus state of Iowa that O'Rourke was selfish for not passing on some of his huge donation haul to down-ballot Democrats in 2018, according to The Journal. An aide for Gillibrand, disputed the reading of her remarks.

beto o'rourke, donald trump, 2020 election
Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke gives his concession speech during the election night party at Southwest University Park in downtown El Paso, Texas, on November 6, 2018. PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images