But the first Democrat can create unique challenges for Mr. O'Rourke.
The question is whether he will be able to scale up his skeletal organization and transfer the control to political professionals he has largely avoided. in the race in the Senate. The expectation of Mr. O'Rourke's official announcement on Thursday was highly improvised, partly because he personally directed much of the planning.
On Wednesday night, he sent messages to his supporters in the early nomination countries to share his plans and tell them that they would have advisers to contact them for his upcoming schedule. For weeks, he met and spoke with a number of Democrats strategists to assess their interest in working for him, finding encouragement, but also unwilling to move to El Paso where he planned to base his operations. Last weekend, Mr. O'Rourke had not yet been able to figure out who would run his campaign. He discussed the campaign manager's work for 90 minutes with the Democratic strategist Jennifer O'Mall Dylan at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, but even on the eve of his announcement he was not sure who would be the head of his organization .
But unlike Obama, who competed in a year when the Iraq war was the only primary issue in the democratic state Mr O'Rourke is looking for the presidency when his party bends to the left. He will be immediately pressured to expand sometimes the unclear liberalism that stains his public life.
Already Mr. Sanders's allies have questioned Mr. O'Rourke's commitment to progressive priorities. (Mr. O'Rourke refused to be called Progressive, saying he was "not big on labels.")
In 2016 he supported a centrist contender for Nancy Pelosi to lead House Democrats. In 2018, he disappointed Texas activists by refusing to support Gina Ortiz Jones, a precious Democratic presidential nomination because she faced the Republican friend of Mr. O'Rourke, representative Will Hurd, who eventually won with less than 1000 votes. 19659009]