Over 25,000 Californians donated to his Senate run. Now as O’Rourke visits the state, he’s focused on voters rather than their wallets

For a moment, Beto O’Rourke, fresh faced and with a natural gift for cadence, was America’s great liberal hope – the consensus pick to be the next big thing. The two-time congressman from El Paso raised over $80m in 2018, more than any previous candidate for the US Senate, in his bid to unseat Ted Cruz. And he almost won, too, with whispers of a presidential run coming months before the vote.

But when he arrives in Los Angeles on Saturday, the first stop in a four-day swing through California, O’Rourke will be coming as not just a charismatic underdog, but as someone desperate to show he is still a rising star and not a has-been. Since launching his presidential campaign in March, O’Rourke has discovered that almost becoming a senator, and being slightly too liberal for Texas, have not proved to be standout attributes in a crowded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination.

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Read More Beto O’Rourke is coming to California. Can the trip redeem his campaign?

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