Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) spoke with Rev. Al Sharpton on Friday, BuzzFeed News reported Monday, adding to speculation that the rising star of the Democratic Party might be mounting a 2020 presidential bid.
O’Rourke’s narrow loss to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a traditionally red state came after a campaign that energized a progressive grassroots movement and brought in major fundraising, marking him as a future leader within the party.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokeswoman for Sharpton confirmed the reverend and the congressman “spoke and agreed to meet within the next couple of weeks and they had a great conversation.”
Representatives for O’Rourke and Sharpton did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
O’Rourke initially said after the midterms that he would not run for president in 2020. Yet at a Texas town hall late last month, he declared he and his wife had “made a decision not to rule anything out.”
His talk with Sharpton, a civil rights icon and former Democratic presidential candidate, is part of a series of high-profile conversations and meetings — including one last month with former President Barack Obama, which the Washington Post reported on last week. Obama had previously compared O’Rourke to his younger self.
Some aides close to Obama reportedly favored former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) as a potential 2020 contender. But Patrick announced last week that he would not pursue a run.