We will revisit the presidential campaign this week on 4 The Record. Specifically, the overcrowded field of democrats.

It’s the 23 — and me — to talk with them. No DNA kit involved here.

One short of two dozen politicians who want to be the leader of the free world.

This morning we’ll concentrate on Robert Francis O’Rourke. You know him as Beto.

He’s 46 years old, born and raised in El Paso, Texas and comes from a family with political connections.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature from Columbia University.

O’Rourke had a career in business before getting into politics when he started an internet services and software company that also produced an online newspaper.

His political career started in 2005 when he served on the El Paso city council for six years.

A year and a half later he found himself in Congress representing Texas in the House of Representatives.

O’Rourke served three terms on Capitol Hill.

He was assigned to the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees.

O’Rourke’s ambition didn’t end there.

He got national attention when he challenged incumbent Senator Ted Cruz for his seat in 2019.

Cruz held onto the seat despite the strong challenge.

Beto O’Rourke became a favorite among progressives during that close race with Ted Cruz.

That generated the momentum for his presidential run.

Since then he’s taken some heat for not being ready for the intense media scrutiny that comes with that.

I sat down with the candidate last Monday and started the conversation there.

Concern about perception?

Perception goes a long way in campaigns. They can become reality regardless of whether they are.

Negative perceptions are especially hard to overcome.

He got labeled early in this campaign as a candidate strong on passion, but short on specifics.

He addressed how much that concerns him and what he does to change that. 

Winning Texas?

O’Rourke made the claim that he can win Texas for the Democrats if he’s the nominee.

That hasn’t been done since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

He discussed how he can make such a bold statement when he didn’t beat Ted Cruz in a statewide election.

Kneeling controversy

During your Senate campaign, O’Rourke weighed in on the NFL controversy that became a national controversy saying, “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights, any time, anywhere, in any place.”

O’Rourke said he had no regrets or worries that Republicans would try to use it against him if he becomes the nominee.

Watch the video above for the full conversation. 

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.