Locals offer mixed reactions to Beto O'Rourke running for president

ODESSA, TX (KOSA) -- El Paso native Beto O’Rourke announced on Thursday that he is running for president in the 2020 election. CBS7 went out in the community to see what locals think about O’Rourke’s decision.

While conservative residents remained skeptical that O’Rourke is a serious candidate for the White House, local Democratic Party members expressed unbridled excitement.

“I really am elated,” Karen Howard-Winters, Vice President of the Ector County Democratic Party, said. “I think that this country needs Beto O’Rourke.”

Fans said they aren’t discouraged by O’Rourke’s November senate loss to Ted Cruz.

“No, not at all,” David Rosen of the Midland Democratic Party said. “If he can do across the country as well as he did in Texas, he’s a slam dunk. Cruz was a well-known Republican, and Beto almost beat him in what people consider a red state.”

Supporters believe O’Rourke’s West Texas roots could make him the ideal president for the area.

“Beto came out to Midland four times during the senatorial campaign,” Rosen said, “And two or three times to Odessa. He has a track record of working with conservatives. He’s extremely personable. Very charismatic. And we think he’s got the right stuff.”

Of course, Election Day is still awhile away, but some people have already decided they won’t be voting for O’Rourke.

“West Texas in particular stands for different things than what he believes in,” Gary Peek said. “We believe in patriotism. We believe in hunting and our gun control and all of that. And he’s just not for that.”

While some don’t believe a nominated O’Rourke would present a challenge to President Donald Trump, others disagree.

“This is Trump’s worst nightmare," Howard-Winters said. "They’re just night and day. Where Beto O’Rourke is honest and kind and sincere, Trump is a liar and a cheat and a thief.”

O’Rourke’s presidential campaign will officially kick off on March 30 with a rally in El Paso.