O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will hold an event Friday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the Texas Democrat mulls a 2020 presidential bid, a spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.

O’Rourke is scheduled to attend a two-hour meet-and-greet with university students and staff that is not open to the public or press. 

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“BETO IS COMING! He will be talking briefly about his career and what has brought him to where he is, but the majority of the time will be spent fielding questions from the audience,” a Facebook event page for the talk says.

The Associated Press was the first to report on the meeting.

Wisconsin will likely play an outsized role in the 2020 electoral map as it was one of the states President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE succeeded in flipping in his surprise victory against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE, winning the Badger State by less than 1 percentage point.

O’Rourke electrified the progressive base and tapped into a record amount of small donations in November when he ran an insurgent campaign to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R), losing by less than 3 points. 

Election prognosticators almost immediately began floating him as a potentially potent opponent to President Trump in 2020, citing his Texas roots as a possible appeal among blue-collar Trump voters Democrats hope to flip next year.

Should O’Rourke throw his hat into the ring, he would be joining what is expected to be the most crowded primary field in modern history.

Several high-profile Democrats have already announced their candidacies, with many more expected to come. Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-N.Y.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), and others, have already announced their presidential bids, with heavyweights such as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) waiting in the wings.

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