EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- Beto O'Rourke is formally kicking off his presidential campaign with three rallies across his home state, where he came close enough to upsetting Sen. Ted Cruz to generate the national buzz now buoying his 2020 White House bid.
The Democratic ex-congressman is holding a Saturday morning rally mere blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border in his native El Paso, then traveling to historically black Texas Southern University in Houston before an evening event in the shadow of Austin's state Capitol.
O'Rourke has visited nine states since joining the race March 14, though he'd promised to head home for an official launch.
Texas is America's largest red state, but Democrats aren't writing it off in 2020. Another presidential candidate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, drew large crowds at Texas Southern last weekend.