'Draft Beto' 2020 group hires staff for California, Nevada


    FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018, file photo, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, the 2018 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, makes his concession speech at his election night party in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

    Backers of former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke are hiring staff in California, Nevada and other early presidential nominating states to help build support for the Democrat's possible presidential campaign.

    O'Rourke, who had a surprisingly close loss last year to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, left office on Jan. 3 and is deciding whether to turn the enthusiasm he generated among Democrats last year into a 2020 `run for the White House.

    A "Draft Beto" group seeking to raise $1 million and encourage an O'Rourke presidential campaign has hired Democratic consultant Michael Soneff to serve as the group's director in Nevada and California. The group also hired a South Carolina director and a senior adviser.

    The Draft Beto organization says it plans to hold rallies and events in the coming weeks to build support for O'Rourke.

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