After a thundering entrance into the 2020 field that included a record-breaking fundraising haul, Beto O’Rourke has struggled with slipping poll numbers, so he changed his strategy Monday night by doing two things that feel like firsts in his campaign: putting on a jacket and appearing in a TV studio for a prime-time interview.
“I recognize that I can do a better job, also, of talking to a national audience beyond the town halls we are having,” O’Rourke told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Since his launch, he’s been doing town halls at a blistering pace, but while he’s crisscrossing the nation, other candidates have been getting more attention.
Among other things, O’Rourke pitched himself as a candidate who can tempt and turn Republican voters.
“Texas and its 38 Electoral College votes have been unlocked,” he told Maddow.
Watch the video below:
"And now for the first time in at least my adult lifetime, maybe since 1976, Texas and its 38 electoral college votes have been unlocked." -Beto O'Rourke pic.twitter.com/o2aUhXMopL
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 14, 2019
O’Rourke had a lot of success working coffee shops and town halls during his Senate race, in which he was narrowly defeated by Ted Cruz. During that race, he also carried his supporters on an almost constant livestream that captured a few authentic moments. However, that grassroots campaign style hasn’t translated to the presidential race quite so smoothly.
The Texan’s new style definitely puts him in front of a lot more in-studio cameras. On Tuesday, he is appearing on “The View” for the first time. A few of the other 2020 candidates have already made appearances on that show. O’Rourke will also do a CNN town hall next week, which has been able to boost multiple campaigns, most notably Pete Buttigieg‘s.
After a strong early showing, O’Rourke has fallen to sixth in the RealClearPolitics polling average. Former Vice President Joe Biden has a stranglehold on the field, leading Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by over 20 points. But the primary elections are still several long months away.