Beto O'Rourke addresses supporters at Alamo Music Hall in San Antonio.
Beto O'Rourke addresses supporters at Alamo Music Hall in San Antonio on Nov. 4, 2018. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report

EL PASO – Beto O’Rourke, coming off a closer-than-expected race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is no longer ruling out a 2020 presidential run.

During his Senate campaign, the El Paso congressman declared he would “not be a candidate for president in 2020” regardless of the outcome. But on Monday, O’Rourke kept the door open to a White House bid during a town hall in El Paso and admitted his resistance to higher office was no longer as unequivocal.

During the town hall, an audience member asked O’Rourke if he was running in 2020. In response, O’Rourke said he is currently focused on spending time with his family and finishing his term in the House, which ends Jan. 3. “And then,” O’Rourke added, “Amy and I will think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community.”

Speaking with reporters after the event, O’Rourke acknowledged his answer on 2020 had changed from what it was during the Senate race. At the time, O’Rourke said, winning that race was “100 percent of our focus.”

“Now that that is no longer possible, we’re thinking through a number of things and Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out,” O’Rourke told reporters. “The best advice I received from people who’ve run for and won and run for and lost elections like this, is don’t make any decisions about anything until you’ve had some time to hang with your family and just be human. And so I am following that advice.”

Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

Julián Aguilar, Texas Tribune

Julián Aguilar reports on politics and border affairs from the Texas-Mexico border. His focuses include immigration reform and enforcement, voter ID, international trade, border security, and the drug...

Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

Patrick Svitek is the primary political correspondent for The Texas Tribune, and editor of The Blast, the Tribune's subscription-only daily newsletter for political insiders.