Politics & Government

Can SC Democrats help ‘Draft Beto’ to run for president in 2020?

He is not running for president yet, but one potential Democratic candidate already is getting support from some South Carolina operatives.

Former state Rep. Boyd Brown has become a national senior adviser to an effort to draft former U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke of Texas to run for president in 2020, Brown told Politico on Monday.

Also, Tyler Jones, a consultant for Joe Cunningham’s upset congressional victory in South Carolina’s 1st District last November, told the Post and Courier of Charleston that he would be a state director for the “Draft Beto” effort.

Both men previously worked on then-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s bid for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Brown, a former member of the Democratic National Committee, was state chairman of O’Malley’s presidential campaign. Jones was a state director for O’Malley.

The former Maryland governor has endorsed an O’Rourke run in 2020.

O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman, built a national profile for himself last year in his campaign against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. O’Rourke narrowly lost to Cruz — 50.9 percent to 48.3 percent — a moral victory for a Democrat in the Lone Star State.

The “Draft Beto” group aims to raise $1 million in hopes of convincing O’Rourke that he has national base of support to run for the Democratic nomination.

Democrats already have started to focus on the 2020 race against Republican Donald Trump.

Later this month, for example, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., will speak at a fundraiser for the Spartanburg County Democratic Party — a possible prelude to his own presidential run.

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Bristow Marchant is currently split between covering Richland County and the 2020 presidential race. He has more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.