Buzz for an O’Rourke presidential run began almost immediately after he lost his bid for Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz in November, in a race that saw the Democratic Texas congressman come close to beating the incumbent senator.
Sharpton’s spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger, confirmed with BuzzFeed that O’Rourke spoke with the reverend. “They spoke and agreed to meet within the next couple of weeks and they had a great conversation.” His meeting with Sharpton, who plays a role in Democratic politics, could be seen as a precursor to a presidential run.
O’Rourke also met with former President Barack Obama on Nov. 16, fueling those rumors. O’Rourke initially said that he would not run for president, but said at a town hall event that he has chosen “not to rule anything out.”
On the podcast The Axe Files, Obama said that O’Rourke reminded him of himself. “The reason I was able to make a connection with a sizable portion of the country was because people had a sense that I said what I meant,” said Obama. “We’ve got a number of people who are thinking about the race who I think fall in that same category.”
During his Senate run, O’Rourke revitalized Democratic politics in one of the most conservative states in the country, which gained national attention.