John Cornyn to supporters: Stop Beto

February 20, 2019

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is telling his supporters he is bracing for a re-election fight with Democrat Beto O’Rourke, even as most of the speculation around the former El Paso congressman has him running for the White House in 2020.

Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, sent out a fundraising plea on Wednesday saying U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and O’Rourke recently sat down to talk about running for the U.S. Senate in 2020. He said the two are collaborating “to paint a target on my back.”

In his letter, Cornyn says “all signs point to another well-funded, high stakes challenge from Beto in 2020. We need to be ready for anything. That’s why we’ve started a STOP BETO FUND - and that’s why I need you to chip in as soon as possible.”

Clicking on the link sends donors to Cornyn’s re-election fund.

It’s a big change from three months ago when Cornyn cast doubt on O’Rourke running against him in 2020. When radio host Hugh Hewitt in November asked Cornyn about O’Rourke, Cornyn said “...I think Beto’s got stars in his eyes, and he’s going to go for the big one.”

But a week ago, Politico, citing unnamed sources, said Schumer had talked to O’Rourke directly about running for Senate — a report O’Rourke’s camp has not confirmed.

Oprah Winfrey, on her OWN channel, earlier this month pressed O’Rourke on whether he’d run for president.

“I have been thinking about running for president,” O’Rourke confirmed to a standing ovation from her audience.

O’Rourke said he would decide by the end of the month. The prospect of running for the Senate did not come up in excerpts released by the OWN network. The full interview with O’Rourke is scheduled to air on Sunday.

Cornyn, meanwhile, is all in on running for re-election in 2020. He starts the race with more than $5.8 million in his campaign account.