Earlier this week, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke spoke on the phone with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In a statement supplied to The Daily Beast, the Texas Democrat’s spokesperson confirmed that the conversation had taken place.
“Beto is grateful for Secretary Clinton’s leadership and service to our country,” the spokesperson said, indicating that O’Rourke had talked to Clinton about the 2020 presidential elections.
“He is glad they had the opportunity to talk about how we’re witnessing people in communities all across America step up like never before, unite together, and fight to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”
This was, according to the Daily Beast, the first time for O’Rourke to speak to the former secretary of state about the upcoming election. Given that the Texas Democrat has hired a number of former Clinton campaign officials, the decision to hold the phone call comes as no surprise.
O’Rourke recently expanded his team, hiring Rob Flaherty, Clinton’s former Deputy director for digital communications, and strategist Jeff Berman.
Beto O’Rourke is not the first Democrat now running for president who spoke with Hillary Clinton. Some candidates have even met with the former first lady. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg have all met with Clinton, who has not yet endorsed anyone in the race.
O’Rourke rose to prominence in 2018, when he challenged Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Losing to Cruz in an exciting race, he became somewhat of an overnight sensation, and a rising star. The Texan joined the crowded Democratic field in March, but his performance in the polls has been underwhelming.
According to a RealClearPolitics average of polling data, O’Rourke is currently polling at 3.8 percent. Ahead of him are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg.
Question: "When you look at the men and women that are above you, what do you think they have or what are they doing that you're not?"— The Hill (@thehill) June 1, 2019
Beto O'Rourke: "I don't know." pic.twitter.com/IYXJkjxtIV
It has been known for quite some time that Hillary Clinton, who ran for president in 2016 and who lost to Donald Trump, will “seek to be an active presence,” as The Hill put it, in the Democratic primary. Clinton reportedly wants to work on uniting the Democratic Party, and those familiar with her thinking claim that she will likely endorse one of the candidates.
Clinton’s meetings and phone conversations with Democratic presidential candidates, and her decision to make her presence known in the upcoming Democratic primary, stand in stark contrast to the 2018 midterm elections.
At the time, as The Washington Examiner reported, Clinton focused on behind-closed-doors fundraising, rarely attending public events. Those running for Congress avoided the former secretary of state, in fear of the Clinton “kiss of death,” as one longtime Democratic strategist put it.
“Hillary Clinton is the kiss of death and she represents the part of the Democratic Party that led to historic losses and that elected Donald Trump president,” the strategist explained.