Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (born September 26, 1972) is an American politician who represented Texas's 16th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. O'Rourke is best known for his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate, which he lost to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. He sought the 2020 Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
O'Rourke was born into a local political family in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School and Columbia University. While studying at Columbia, he began a brief music career as bass guitarist in the post-hardcore band Foss. After his college graduation, he returned to El Paso and began a business career. In 2005, he was elected to the El Paso City Council, serving until 2011. O'Rourke was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 after defeating eight-term incumbent Democrat Silvestre Reyes in the primary.
After being re-elected to the House in 2014 and 2016, O'Rourke declined to seek another term in 2018. Instead, he sought the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Ted Cruz, running a competitive campaign that drew national attention. O'Rourke set a record for most votes ever cast for a Democrat in a midterm election in Texas, and helped numerous judicial candidates of his party get elected to trial and appellate courts in metropolitan areas.
On March 14, 2019, O'Rourke announced his campaign for President in the 2020 United States presidential election. He suspended his campaign on November 1, 2019, before the primaries began, and endorsed Joe Biden later on.
O'Rourke is considering a run for Texas Governor in 2022, but has not firmly announced his challenge to incumbent Governor Greg Abbott, who may also face a challenge by actor Matthew McConaughey.