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Beto O'Rourke hits the presidential campaign trail in Iowa, picks up endorsements

CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesFORT MADISON, Iowa — As Beto O’Rourke began his campaign for president Thursday in Iowa, he drew a few endorsements from former colleagues and mockery from President Donald Trump.Standing in the middle of a crowded sandwich shop…

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

FORT MADISON, Iowa — As Beto O’Rourke began his campaign for president Thursday in Iowa, he drew a few endorsements from former colleagues and mockery from President Donald Trump.

Standing in the middle of a crowded sandwich shop in Fort Madison, Iowa, on Thursday afternoon, O’Rourke promised to run an Iowa caucus campaign that goes everywhere and talks to everyone. 

Lee County is among the Iowa areas that voted twice for Democratic President Barack Obama before voting for Republican President Donald Trump in 2016. 

“There are communities, because of the partisan color that the pundits give them, that are written off by the other party — places so reliably red that Democrats fear to tread, and, therefore, Republicans don’t have to show up because there’s no competition at the end of the day,” the El Paso Democrat said. “I want to show up everywhere for everyone.”

More: Who is Beto O’Rourke? Get to know the 2020 presidential candidate

O’Rourke was in Iowa just hours after formally announcing he will run for president. He held smaller, unpublicized events in Keokuk and at Fort Madison High School earlier in the morning and plans a three-day trip across the state that will take him through eastern Iowa towns like Burlington, Muscatine and Mount Pleasant.

Joan Crowe, a 66-year-old retired nurse from Donnellson, said in Fort Madison that she didn’t know much about O’Rourke going into the day but thinks “he must be good” if he could nearly beat Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in reliably Republican Texas. After the event, she said she left feeling hopeful.

“He’s got the energy and he has a lot of things that he’s saying that just amaze me how in sync I feel with him,” she said. “And the idea that he will go to any Republican enclave and still be meeting people.

“He said he’s against everything Trump believes in, so I think that’s going to work for me. I’m just really amazed at his energy. It’s like visiting my daughter. I just feel very hopeful.”

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Beto 2020 announcement video: O’Rourke announces he will run for president in video, calls this time “a defining moment of truth” for the nation.
Courtesy of Beto O’Rourke campaign, El Paso Times

Trump, who recently faced-off against O’Rourke in dueling rallies in El Paso, was less than impressed with his announcement, mocking his potential rival’s hand gestures during a news conference Thursday. 

“I think he has a lot of hand movement,” Trump said in a news conference during his visit with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House. “I’ve never seen so much hand movement. Is he crazy or is that just the way he acts?”

He continued: “I watched him a little this morning doing, I assume, some kind of news conference, and I’ve actually never seen anything quite like it. Study it. I am sure you will agree.”

More: Beto O’Rourke kickoff rally in El Paso: Here’s what we know

In addition to an endorsement from his U.S. House successor, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, O’Rourke picked up some support from former colleagues in Congress: U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice D-N.Y.; U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.; and U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y. Rice said O’Rourke is someone who can bring people together.

“I’m proud to endorse my friend @BetoORourke for President!” she said on Twitter. “He’s honest, authentic and has the courage of his convictions and a bold vision for our future. Most importantly, he’ll build a movement that will rise above the toxic division in our politics and unite this country.”

I’m proud to endorse my friend @BetoORourke for President!

He’s honest, authentic and has the courage of his convictions and a bold vision for our future. Most importantly, he’ll build a movement that will rise above the toxic division in our politics and unite this country.

— Kathleen Rice (@KathleenRice) March 14, 2019

Murphy, who campaigned with O’Rourke when he was running for U.S. Senate, also took to Twitter to say the former congressman had her full confidence.

“I proudly endorse my friend & former colleague @BetoORourke for President. Our party will benefit from his ideas, energy & pragmatism. Our country would benefit from his compassion, authenticity & unifying vision. He’s the candidate I trust with our nation’s future. Count me in!”

I proudly endorse my friend & former colleague @BetoORourke for President. Our party will benefit from his ideas, energy & pragmatism. Our country would benefit from his compassion, authenticity & unifying vision. He’s the candidate I trust with our nation’s future. Count me in! https://t.co/WPI4iWUJuV

— Stephanie Murphy (@SMurphyCongress) March 14, 2019

.@BetoORourke has a heart the size of Texas, real experience, and a vision of that strong, united and youthful America that once led the world — and that can again inspire and motivate millions. That’s why I’m proud to support him as the next president of the USA.

— Sean Patrick Maloney (@spmaloney) March 14, 2019

Republican leaders called O’Rourke “America’s nightmare” in a Twitter video posted immediately after the El Pasoan announced his campaign.

The video, posted Thursday morning on the official Twitter account of the Republican National Committee, says: “The left’s dream boy … is America’s nightmare.”

It attacks O’Rourke over several of the policies he supports, including his support of government-run health care. It also criticizes him for calling law enforcement “the new Jim Crow.”

More: GOP calls Beto O’Rourke ‘America’s nightmare’ after he announces 2020 presidential run

Standing near the center of the room with Iowans packing the tables and chairs surrounding him on all sides, O’Rourke energetically took questions related to climate change, the news media, Social Security, student debt and whether he has enough experience to be president.

On his experience, O’Rourke acknowledged, “I may not have served forever” in the U.S. House of Representatives — the 46-year-old served three terms — but he said his experience on the El Paso City Council also is important. He spoke about attending local town halls as both a city councilman and a congressman there and the importance of staying accountable to voters.

“It made me a far better representative than I would have been otherwise. There was this healthy fear that I felt going into those meetings, knowing that I would be held accountable, that I would face those who put me in this position of public trust, and that I would be reminded of who it is I ultimately serve.”

More: Beto O’Rourke announces 2020 bid for president

At his first stop in Keokuk, O’Rourke called for legalizing recreational marijuana but said it should be treated the same as cigarettes — marketed as “not cool” — to prevent children from smoking, according to Bloomberg.

The main reason to legalize marijuana is so fewer people of color are jailed on drug-related offenses, he said.

“We can free ourselves from the distinction of being the country that imprisons more of its fellow citizens than any other country on the face of the planet,” O’Rourke said. “And guess what? By and large they do not look like this room. They are browner and blacker than most of America.”

El Paso Times staff contributed to this report.

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Democrat Beto O'Rourke, shown at his home in Sunset Heights in El Paso, officially entered the presidential race Thursday morning and immediately became the focus of Republican attacks.

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Beto O'Rourke and his wife, Amy Sanders O'Rourke, at their El Paso home in the Sunset Heights neighborhood.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Beto O'Rourke sits in his home alongside his wife, Amy Sanders O'Rourke, on Tuesday in his Sunset Heights home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke and his wife Amy Sanders O'Rourke at their El Paso home in the Sunset Heights neighborhood of El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Beto O'Rourke and Amy Sanders O'Rourke at their home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke is shown at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke sits beside his wife, Amy.

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El Pasoan Beto O'Rourke sits in the living room of his Sunset Heights home.

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Democrat Beto O'Rourke, shown at his home in Sunset Heights in El Paso, officially entered the presidential race Thursday morning.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Dona Ana

Car accident kills three, including an El Paso man, Sunday in New Mexico

Sun-News report Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident? WochitHIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal…

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Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?
Wochit

HIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.

New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal head-on collision at mile marker 19, near Lordsburg, about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Police said a 2015 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling east on Interstate 10, when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the center median and hit a west-bound 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head on. The Freightliner’s trailer hit a 1999 Dodge pickup that was also traveling west. Both semi-trucks caught on fire.

Three people died in the crash: Sean White, 50, of West Covina, California, was the driver of the Freightliner; Jose Apodaca, 47, of El Paso, was the driver of the Kenworth; and Susan Rojo, 47, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was a passenger in the Dodge.

A 51-year-old male driving the Dodge and a 13-year-old female passenger in the pickup, both believed to be from Arizona, were transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and seat belt use has not been determined. Police are continuing to investigate.

More: A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

More: Car accident kills 11-year-old boy Sunday in East El Paso

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Beto campaign manager was aide to Barack Obama in 2012, signals shift in O'Rourke strategy

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesThe move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

The move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political talent as he seeks to emerge from a crowded field of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.

A former top strategist for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort is joining Texan Beto O’Rourke as a campaign manager for his 2020 presidential bid.

The addition of Jen O’Malley Dillon gives O’Rourke a seasoned, high-level operative as he attempts to distinguish himself in a crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“We’re exited that Jen O’Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said Monday in text message forwarded by his campaign. “Her leadership and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice.

— Jen O’Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) March 25, 2019

O’Malley Dillon was Obama’s deputy campaign manager. She said in a series of tweets that as a mother of two she wants to make a better world for her children. Her hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

“I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice,” she said in one of the tweets.

MORE: Beto O’Rourke campaign announces location for El Paso rally

She added, “and not gonna lie, pretty excited for our kids to get a chance to live in El Paso, where” her husband grew up.

Her husband, Patrick Dillon, was the deputy director of political affairs and special assistant to Obama.

O’Malley Dillon is a co-founder of the political communications firm, Precision Strategies, which worked for Obama in 2012 and also represents the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation, according to its website.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the hiring of O’Malley Dillon is a signal O’Rourke recognizes that he cannot run his presidential bid with the same seat-of-the pants style that became a trademark in his narrow loss to U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year.

“Getting someone who knows what it takes to win, especially an old Obama hand, is huge,” Rottinghaus said. “Going from a U.S. Senate campaign to a presidential campaign is like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues. This says Beto knows he needs top talent.”

MORE: Beto fundraising record: $6.1 million from donors is an ‘important number’ for O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, gave up a safe Democratic seat representing El Paso to challenge Cruz. He entered the presidential race March 14 and immediately hit the road to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states on next year’s political calendar.

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Days after saying he would join the presidential race, O’Rourke said he had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his formal announcement — the biggest first-day haul of any of the announced Democrats. He edged Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million, raised from 223,000 individual donors. The O’Rourke campaign said later that it received 128,000 unique contributions.

O’Rourke plans what he’s calling a “launch” on Saturday with a morning rally in El Paso to be followed by two more home-state rallies — one in Houston that afternoon and a nighttime event in Austin, a block from the Texas Capitol.

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A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 CLOSE If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA pedestrian was struck by a…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A pedestrian was struck by a train early Tuesday morning in the Upper Valley, officials said.

The incident happened at Spur 16 and Doniphan Drive near Canutillo High School, El Paso Police Department officials said.

The pedestrian’s current condition and name were not released.

The El Paso Police Department’s Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the accident.

No further information has been released.

Want to stay on top of breaking news? Click here to subscribe to elpasotimes.com.

Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

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