Beto to Make First Trip to Iowa

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O'Rourke has not officially announced he is running for president.

O'Rourke's name was thrown in the ring as a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate after his closer-than-expected loss past year to U.S. Sen.

While in Iowa this weekend, O'Rourke is scheduled to speak on a conference call this weekend with the High School Democrats of America. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey are also expected to knock on doors for Giddens this weekend, the Washington Post reported. Two days of on-campus voting will kick off Tuesday; Election Day is March 19.

Norm Sterzenbach, a veteran Iowa Democratic operative, helped produce O'Rourke's video for Giddens, CNN reported. He is no longer working in that role, Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price told CNN. In Austin, over the weekend for the South by Southwest festival, he told reporters, "I want to make sure I do it the right way, and I tell everyone at the same time".

Sterzenbach's departure sparked speculation that he might join O'Rourke's campaign.

While he ruled out running again for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas, he stopped short of revealing if his decision included launching a challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020.

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Aides to O'Rourke have continued to remain tight-lipped about the Democrat's future plans, but the upcoming travel is the clearest signal yet that a presidential candidacy is in the works.

Late last month, O'Rourke said he had reached his decision about whether he would be jumping into the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary. "We are excited to share it with everyone soon".

O'Rourke's team sent out an email blast on Saturday teasing a "big announcement" and inviting supporters to be the first to hear any news.

O'Rourke, who lost a close U.S. Senate race in Texas in November to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, had previously declined to accept invitations to visit Democrats in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early nominating states and hasn't yet made major staffing moves in those places.

His unorthodox and ultimately unsuccessful Senate campaign, which shunned traditional strategists and instead relied on the candidate's organic appeal, broke fundraising records and earned O'Rourke a national profile that catapulted him into the presidential discussion.

"There are so many candidacies, so many leaders, who we got to be a part of this incredible thing in Texas over the last two years, and it continues, and we are so excited", he said.