Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign brought hope to liberals and progressives in the deep red state of Texas that the seat would finally flip blue. Despite the national attention and the enormous fundraising brought in by O’Rourke, the candidate conceded to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in a loss by about 200,000 votes.
It’s unclear what’s next for the defeated candidate. Many are hoping he takes to a presidential run in 2020, but his letter to supporters sent on Sunday simply says he’ll “see you down the road” and that he’s enjoying quality time with his family.
“Doing something — just hanging out, just being around, just being — that I haven’t done in almost two years,” O’Rourke wrote, detailing the happenings in his household.
O’Rourke defined his campaign by visiting every county in Texas in a video-documented road trip, which O’Rourke said he misses the most.
“Already miss the road. Miss our team and our volunteers that we’d see in every city, every town. Miss the energy and smiles and joy I found all over Texas,” he said. “Miss the purpose, the goal. Miss being part of something so much bigger than me or my life. Organized for a common cause and end. We were all together, really together. Never felt anything like that.”
O’Rourke’s overall message in his 1,000 words was that he lost, but his ideals still won, and that his supporters shouldn’t be discouraged.
“While there is loss, I also feel intense gratitude, waves of it every day. How was I so lucky to be part of something so amazing?”
O’Rourke’s thank you email gained attention after supporter Laura Olin tweeted it out Sunday, saying the letter was “one for the ages”:
O’Rourke called his loss “bitter” and he said that he hasn’t been able to fully understand it, but he accepts his defeat graciously.
“I did my best, everyone did. For our democracy to work, for us to be able to continue to work together, it’s important to be at peace with the outcome.”
The Democratic congressman also recognized that the outpouring of support for him could’ve trickled down to lower-ticket candidates and could inspire future candidates as well:
“I am grateful that you gave me a chance to be a part of this. I feel responsible to you, to our country, to my kids and to my conscience to make sure that we continue to find a way to respond to the urgency that we still feel. I didn’t go away Tuesday night. Our ability to convert hope and inspiration into action and change must not be wasted to kept to a candidate or campaign lest it dissipate and be rendered unusable at the most challenging time in our country’s history.”
He ended his note with no hints of a future candidacy, writing that he wanted to concentrate on a different job: “For the time being, I am going to focus on being a better dad to our kids who have not had much of one for the last 22 months.”