By Valeria Olivares
Among the crowd of nearly 4,000, many young people joined the rally to support Beto O’Rourke as he launched his presidential campaign at El Paso, Texas.
O’Rourke “has, overall, great views for young people and pretty much for everybody,” said 14-year-old Ethan James Rosenbaum from Phoenix, Ariz.
O’Rourke is one of the 18 current candidates running for U.S. president for the 2020 term. He will be hosting two more rallies at Houston and Austin after his rally at El Paso on Saturday.
Rosenbaum first heard about O’Rourke when he announced that he was running for president. After Googling the presidential candidate, the high school freshman decided that he liked him.
Rosario Martinez, 21, said her eyes filled with tears when she learned that the El Paso native would be running for president.
“Being from the El Paso community, he really understands what it is to be diverse … I’m very confident and hopeful about the future, especially with him running for president,” Martinez said.
Some of O’Rourke’s young supporters have been following him since his senatorial race last year.
Lizzy Saenz, 24, agreed with many of his ideas and was excited about the plans he had.
“I’m looking to support Beto and see what he has to offer as a presidential candidate,” Saenz said.
O’Rourke’s young supporters believe that he will bring the change that so many of them want from within the U.S. government.
“I think we really need him right now at this point in our nation,” said Daniela Ramirez, a UTEP freshman. “We really need someone to unify us.”
While they are aware that there is a long way to go, some of his supporters worry that he might not stand out from among his colleagues. One of 20-year-old Antonia Taylor’s main concerns are the other 17 Democratic candidates running against O’Rourke.
“It’s going to be a very difficult race, especially because there’s so many Democrats running and it’s such a divided party,” said Taylor, who was selling O’Rourke merchandise during the rally.
“If we can really push through and get the support of the United States, especially Democrats, then I think he has a decent chance of getting presidency.”
Because O’Rourke raised about $6.1 million during his first day as a presidential candidate, however his young supporters are confident that he will be able to persevere.
“He has all this momentum and all these people that are supporting him, not just in Texas, but in the whole country,” said 19-year-old Hazel Pardo.
“I think his chances are pretty good … He almost won the Texas Senate and I think he has a really good chance of winning the majority of the country.”
O’Rourke’s run is historic because he’d be the first president from a border city.
Nia Hernandez, 13, a Loretto Academy eighth-grader, said: “I came here in support of Beto and to witness something historical … He has strong values and he stands with the people, unlike a couple of candidates.”