US congressman Beto O’Rourke has announced his candidacy for the presidency after a months-long deliberation, says Lauren Gambino in The Guardian. And he has got off to a flying start. O’Rourke raised an “unprecedented” $6.1m during the first 24 hours of his official run for the White House. This “stunning sum” is more than every other Democratic rival. O’Rourke’s rise from little-known congressman to national star began during this Senate bid in Texas last year. He narrowly lost to the incumbent, Ted Cruz. During that campaign, he raised $38m in one quarter.
O’Rourke’s “moderate views, ability to run a solid campaign, and star quality on the podium make him the dream candidate for financial markets”, says Stephanie Kelly in City AM. And his near-victory in traditionally Republican Texas showcases his appeal to centrist voters. Yet many of his strengths could prove to be weaknesses in the “crowded Democratic primaries and highly polarised political environment”.
Indeed, the most recent polls suggest that O’Rourke is in third place, and “has a long way to go to catch up with either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders”, says Thomas Edsall in The New York Times. Sanders loyalists in particular “have been challenging O’Rourke’s credentials”. And some have accused him of being all style and no substance, says The Economist. But “one of those qualities can be taught”. O’Rourke “possesses the uncoachable one”. If Democrats can learn the lesson from the previous election that voters won’t listen to candidates they don’t like, O’Rourke “has a good shot at winning”.