Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (September 26, 1972) is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 16th congressional district since 2013. In 2018, O'Rourke was the nominee of the Democratic Party in a U.S. Senate race, running against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O'Rourke was defeated by Cruz by 2.6 percent in November 2018.
A native of El Paso, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012 by defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary that year. The district includes most of El Paso County. Prior to his election to Congress, O'Rourke was on the El Paso City Council from June 2005 to June 2011.
- Punk rock, at its best, was just stripping down all the corporate rock I was hearing on the radio in the 1980s and getting down to its most basic roots.
- Beto Effin’ O’Rourke: On running for Senate with the expletive undeleted | First Reading (in en). My Statesman (September 25, 2017). Retrieved on 12 November 2018. On his days in his rock band, Foss
- Everyone should deserve that next chance to improve their lives, to contribute to their communities, to do better, and if my own personal experience serves as some form of motivation… then there will be some good that has come out of it.
- Beto O'Rourke. (2017). One-on-One with Evan Smith of Texas Tribune #TribFest17 [video]. Austin, Texas: Facebook. When asked about his arrests in an interview with the Texas Tribune
- He absolutely loved life and loved people and his family and gave it everything that he could. He was always so focused on doing what he thought was important or the right thing, and there was a joy that came out of that. I wish I could find my own and I seek to do that.
- Beto O'Rourke. (2017). One-on-One with Evan Smith of Texas Tribune #TribFest17 [video]. Austin, Texas: Facebook. A tearful answer to the question "What’s the thing you take away from [Pat O'Rourke's, Beto's father,] life as a public servant?” during an interview with the Texas Tribune
- I absolutely have made mistakes, and some of them are very grave. I think people are owed that story and should make a decision based on the complete story.
- Beto Effin’ O’Rourke: On running for Senate with the expletive undeleted | First Reading (in en). My Statesman (September 25, 2017). Retrieved on 12 November 2018. When asked about his "youthful indiscretions"
- Ted Cruz doesn’t have an office anywhere near El Paso. John Cornyn doesn’t have an office anywhere near El Paso. Presidential candidates don’t come to El Paso. Gubernatorial candidates don’t come to El Paso. People who are focused on power don’t come to El Paso. And I was saying that in front of the crowd in Texarkana, and this lady in front of the crowd said, "That’s how I feel!" That’s how a lot of Texas feels—they feel forgotten, left behind, unrepresented, unimportant to the centers of power and the system as it currently works. It doesn’t work for them. A lot of the state feels like El Paso feels, and a lot of the state wants their state back and wants to be recognized and represented and served. I think this campaign is all about that.
- No necesitamos el muro. Si queremos asegurar nuestras comunidades, necesitamos tratar gente con respeto y dignidad. El ejemplo es el ciudad de El Paso donde nací, donde crecí, donde están mis hijos en las mismas escuelas donde yo estaba. Somos una de las comunidades más seguras de los Estados Unidos ahora, y no necesitamos un muro. No necesitamos la Guardia Nacional. Necesitamos reflejar la fortaleza de nuestras comunidades, incluyendo los inmigrantes.'
- Translation: We don't need the wall. If we want to secure our communities, we need to treat people with respect and dignity. The example is the city of El Paso where I was born, where I grew up, where my children are in the same schools where I was. We are one of the safest communities in the United States now, and we don't need a wall. We don't need the National Guard. We need to reflect the strength of our communities, including immigrants.
- Beto O'Rourke. (2018). Entrevista con Jorge Ramos [video]. Laredo, Texas: Facebook. From an interview with Jorge Ramos with CNN, in response to whether or not Texas needs a border wall with Mexico (quote begins at 1:30)
- He’s dishonest. That’s why the president called him "Lyin’ Ted," and that’s why the nickname stuck. Because it’s true.
- Samuels, Brett (17 October 2018). O'Rourke: I had to be aggressive in debate to fight 'dishonest' Cruz attacks (in en). TheHill. Retrieved on 12 November 2018. In response to an accusation during his second debate with Ted Cruz. He later said he regretted the statement, as it went against his commitment to not run a negative campaign.
- All of you, showing the country how you do this. I'm so fucking proud of you guys.
- Beto O'Rourke. (November 7, 2018). Election Night [video]. El Paso, Texas: Facebook. From 2018 Senate campaign concession speech (quote begins at 12:16)
Quotes about O'Rourke
- I know Beto—he’s a good guy. But I think this is a suicide mission.
- He’s not making money the way most politicians are, and I think that really scares a lot of them because politicians are so used to that system, and they’re so used to scratching each other’s backs that we all suffer from that in the end and he’s you know, he’s like, "No I’m not going to do that." And that is just so inspiring.
- Cepeda, Eduardo (September 2018). What It Was Like to Be In a Punk Band With Beto O'Rourke, According to Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Remezcla. Retrieved on 13 November 2018. Cedric Bixler-Zavala, a former bandmate of O'Rourke, on the congressman's funding strategy (September 2018)
- We always called him Beto!
- Cepeda, Eduardo (September 2018). What It Was Like to Be In a Punk Band With Beto O'Rourke, According to Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Remezcla. Retrieved on 13 November 2018. Bixler-Zavala on the congressman's nickname (September 2018)
- I think Beto O'Rourke is overrated. When I heard about him I thought he must be something special; he's not. I think he got beaten badly in the debates. I think he is a highly overrated guy.
- Donald Trump quoted in Ahead of trip to Texas, Donald Trump uses a new nickname for Ted Cruz: "Beautiful Ted" (22 October 2018)
- Beto O’Rourke, who wants higher taxes and far more regulations, is not in the same league with Ted Cruz and what the great people of Texas stand for and want. Ted is strong on crime, the border and second amendment, loves our military, veterans, low taxes. Beto is a flake!
- Meet Beto O'Rourke, the man fighting to unseat Ted Cruz in US midterm elections. The Independent (30 October 2018). Retrieved on 12 November 2018. (October 2018)
- Something I didn’t know: Beto O’Rourke is the #2 recipient of oil/gas industry campaign cash in the entire Congress. https://www.opensecrets.org...
- O’Rourke signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, which required that candidates not take any donations exceeding $200 from fossil fuel PACs or individuals in the industry. The pledge was endorsed by 16 environmental groups... at a time when climate change is more threatening and immediate than ever... there were 24 oil executives who made donations to O’Rourke’s campaign, totaling $35,125. According to this data, Beto broke his pledge at least 25 times.
- Beto voted against his own party to pass GOP bills for business tax cuts, Wall St dereg, Trump’s deportation force, and chipping away at the ACA. It’s your right to argue thats totally OK — but let’s not use vague averages to obscure what his specific votes were about.
- O’Rourke, a member of the business-friendly New Democrat Coalition, has voted for bills lifting the ban on exporting crude oil and granting presidents a fast-track approval process for international trade agreements. Over three terms in Congress he also failed to sign on to a single-payer health care bill that had the support of the majority of House Democrats...
- Daniel Marans in [https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-beto-orourke-presidential-primary-feud-former-staff_us_5c27d084e4b08aaf7a91035a The Real Reason Why Some Bernie Sanders Fans Have It In For Beto O’Rourke, The Huffington Post (29 December 2018)
- While representing El Paso in Congress he [O'Rourke] voted to remove the ban on crude oil exports, backed a Republican bill to expedite natural gas exports, and opposed a Democratic measure to limit offshore drilling... As David Sirota framed it in The Guardian: “[D]espite the imminent climate catastrophe facing our planet, O’Rourke has often taken the side of carbon polluters.”
- Houston Chronical, Beto and Bernie debate raises questions about Texas’ oil economy (30 December 2018)
- For weeks, Beto fans have attacked our reporting in an effort to intimidate journalists into not looking into his record. But now the Houston Chronicle is citing our reporting for having prompted a much needed debate about climate policy & his record.
- Well-informed public discussion is a major hazard for Democratic Party elites now eager to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the 2020 presidential nomination. In recent weeks, Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke has become a lightning rod... largely because of the vast hype about him from mass media and Democratic power brokers.
- At such times, when spin goes into overdrive, we need incisive factual information.
Investigative journalist David Sirota provided it in a deeply researched Dec. 20 article, which The Guardian published under the headline “Beto O’Rourke Frequently Voted for Republican Legislation, Analysis Reveals.” ...it’s better to learn revealing political facts sooner rather than later.
- Thanks to Sirota’s coverage... we now know “O’Rourke has voted for GOP bills that his fellow Democratic lawmakers said reinforced Republicans’ anti-tax ideology, chipped away at the Affordable Care Act, weakened Wall Street regulations, boosted the fossil fuel industry and bolstered Donald Trump’s immigration policy.”
- Let us be clear: This isn’t a matter of policy differences. This man is a boob, a dolt. He is vulgar and ungrammatical, knows nothing, and makes no sense. He can’t keep his mouth shut for five seconds and he is wired like an early helicopter with a vertical rotor on its tail: he can’t gabble out his nonsense without waving his arms around. He knows everything, meaning nothing, is incapable of making a correct factual statement, and throws in the f-word for emphasis, even where there is nothing to emphasize. Yet he is performing a valuable role: This is the candidate the media have been looking for.
- All of the Democratic candidates and the entire political process are being taken over and occupied by the invasion of the whole public space by Robert Francis O’Rourke. No one has ever heard or seen anything like this candidate: a hyperactive limb-flailing imbecile, babbling compulsively in a torrent of extremist nonsense barely couched in comprehensible syntax.
- Former Congressmember O'Rourke voted for 20 out of 29 military spending bills (69%) since 2013...Peace Action... [noted his] votes opposing specific cuts in the military budget... he voted for an 11th aircraft-carrier in 2015, and against an overall 1% cut in the military budget in 2016. He voted against reducing the number of U.S. troops in Europe in 2013 and he twice voted against placing limits on a Navy slush fund. O'Rourke was a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and he took in $111,210 from the "defense" industry for his Senate campaign, more than any other Democratic presidential candidate.
Despite an obvious affinity with military-industrial interests, of which there are many throughout Texas, O'Rourke has not highlighted foreign or military policy in his Senate or presidential campaigns, suggesting that this is something he would like to downplay. In Congress, he was a member of the corporate New Democrat Coalition that progressives see as a tool of plutocratic and corporate interests.
- Medea Benjamin & Nicolas J S Davies War and Peace and the 2020 Presidential Candidates, Common Dreams (27 March 2019)
- ZOA [Zionist Organisation of Anerica] condemns O’Rourke’s disgraceful and ignorant and insensitive comments comparing Trump to the Third Reich. Especially in light of the fact that Trump has been the greatest friend to the Jewish State of Israel we’ve ever had in the White House and that his daughter, son-in-Law and grandchildren are Orthodox Jews.
- Morton Klein, as quoted in 'Shameless Trivialization Of The Holocaust’: America’s Largest Pro-Israel Group Slams Beto For Comparing Trump To Third Reich, April 7, 2019, The Daily Wire
- "Beto O'Rourke takes questions at CNN town hall: Live updates" (in en). 18 October 2018. Retrieved on 20 October 2018.