The former congressmanÂ held a final “huddle with the team” Thursday evening where, true to form,Â he used a livestreamed video to thank supporters and close the chapter on his presidential bid.Â
“All of us have to commit to get behind the nominee from this party to make sure that she or he is successful against Donald Trump,” O’Rourke said. “And then to make sure that once they become president that they help to heal this very divided country and face with courage every single one of the challenges in front of us right now.”Â
O’Rourke said he and his wife, Amy, are “committed to doing everything we can for the nominee” to ensure Texas’ 38 electoral votes support the Democrat.Â
“We’re going to try to help candidates all up and down the ballot and especially try to bring to the table those who have never had a voice or … have not been able to participate in the conversation,” O’Rourke said.Â
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O’Rourke entered the presidential race after narrowly losing aÂ U.S. Senate bid against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.Â O’Rourke lackedÂ momentumÂ in the crowded national field for Democratic presidential nominee.
Despite a significantÂ haul early in his campaign, O’Rourke’s fundraising numbers and standings in the polls lagged.
While he was running for president, there was pressure for him to enter the race against Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. O’Rourke said he wouldn’t run, andÂ when he exited, staffÂ maintained he wouldn’t be a Senate candidate.Â
AskedÂ Thursday whether he’d remain in the politics, O’Rourke replied “absolutely” but didn’t say in what capacity.Â
“Any of you out there who have run for office and come off short know this, some part of youÂ Â wants to go deep into a cave and never come out again,” O’Rourke said. “I think that’s a natural part of the reaction,Â but I don’t think you get that pass in a democracy.”
O’Rourke said he’s “in politics right now with you, gonna do everything that I can.”Â
â€œWhat form that takes and in what capacity, I don’t know. Amy and I have been beginning to talk about that and to think about that, but certainly it will involve supporting great candidates, all over this country, from school board trustee to the next nominee for the presidency from the Democratic Party,â€ Oâ€™Rourke said.
He said leaving the presidential race was a difficult decision.Â
“And one that I only made very reluctantly and really only when it was clear there was no other option available to us,” O’Rourke said. “We faced a moment where we knew that if we were to continue, we would not be able to do it with so many of the great people who made this campaign possible in the first place.”Â
FollowÂ Eleanor DearmanÂ on Twitter:Â @EllyDearman
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