Beto O’Rourke to return to Ames after reaching new polling low


Mia Wang/Iowa State Daily

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas visits Iowa State’s M-shop on April 3. He is also one of the presidential candidates for the year of 2020. O’Rourke will visit Ames for a house party with supporters Tuesday.

Jake Webster

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, is returning to Ames after getting bruised in the first round of presidential debates.

The former congressman from El Paso will appear at a house party 6 p.m. Tuesday at 2108 Hughes St.

O’Rourke’s campaign released a video endorsing newly-minted Iowa House District 46 Democratic nominee Ross Wilburn. District 46 covers Campustown and the Iowa State campus, and there will be a special election for the seat Aug. 6, following the resignation of former Rep. Lisa Heddens.

O’Rourke called it a “very special election” in the video, noting Gov. Kim Reynolds called the election on a date before “[Iowa State] students are back at school.”

After the presidential debates last week, O’Rourke saw his unfavorable rating increase by 11.3% to 23.8% in a poll conducted by Morning Consult for FiveThirtyEight. His national standing in the poll also dropped by 1.8% to 2.1%, still well within the poll’s 3% margin of error.

O’Rourke lost to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 by 2.6%, the closest a Democrat has come to winning a senate race in Texas since 1988. O’Rourke debuted in the Democratic primary field with an argument of winning over voters who Democrats have struggled with in the past, and a Vanity Fair cover quoting him saying “I want to be in it [the fight of our lives as Americans]. Man, I’m just born to be in it.”

For now, Democratic primary voters do not agree. On the day O’Rourke began his presidential bid he stood at 5.8% among Democratic voters nationally, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. He is at 2.8% as of Monday — the lowest he has polled at since entering the race.

The Iowa caucuses, 216 days away, will be the first chance for Democrats to give their say on who should be their party’s nominee. The latest poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers, conducted by Change Research, found O’Rourke with 1% support.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story quoted O’Rourke out of context based on a Vanity Fair cover quoting O’Rourke out of context. The article has been updated to reflect the actual quote. The Daily regrets this error.