Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, who is running to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, said he didn’t believe he or his team was “interested” in an endorsement from former President Barack Obama.
“I don’t think we’re interested [in an endorsement],” O’Rourke said Thursday following a town hall, per the Texas Tribune. “I am so grateful to him for his service, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest presidents. And yet, this [election] is on Texas.”
O’Rourke noted that when he ran against then-Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Obama and former President Bill Clinton had endorsed Reyes. But even without their endorsements, O’Rourke emerged the successful candidate.
“Bill Clinton fills up the county coliseum and a screaming El Paso Times front page headline [said] ‘President urges El Paso to stick with Reyes,’” he said. “And we won. And what that drove home for me is that someone else’s popularity is not transferrable to a given candidate.”
The comments come just days after Obama released a second wave of endorsements, backing incumbents such as Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., along with new faces such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running for a congressional seat in New York.
In total, Obama issued 260 endorsements for candidates all across the country on Monday.
O’Rourke is running a surprisingly competitive and well-funded campaign against Cruz in a deep-red state. The two will face off in the 2018 midterm election in November.