Major Obama 2008 fundraiser throws support behind Beto 2020: ‘Time to pass the torch’

One of former President Obama’s major fundraisers during his 2008 campaign has vowed to raise money for Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke if he runs in 2020.

Chicago financier Louis Susman said he is encouraging O’Rourke, a rising Democratic star who narrowly lost a Senate race to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R-Texas), to run against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, CNN reported Friday.


Susman has served as one of the Democratic Party’s most prolific fundraisers, previously working as the finance chairman for John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Trump’s troubles deepen as voters see country on wrong path The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden’s New Deal MORE’s 2004 presidential run.

He later went on to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom under the Obama administration.

“It’s time to pass the torch to a new generation,”  Susman told CNN. “I have nothing against the Bidens and Kerrys of the world and all of these senators that are looking at it, but I think the Beto example is what inspired people and what we are going to need.”

O’Rourke is considered one of the top Democratic White House contenders for 2020, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Tuesday.

The outgoing Texas congressman ranked third in the poll, behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.)

O’Rourke said firmly during his Senate campaign that he would not mount a presidential run in 2020 but has recently indicated he might be open to it.

“Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out,” O’Rourke told reporters after a town hall in El Paso, Texas, referring to his wife.

He also met with Obama at the former commander in chief’s office in Washington D.C.

Obama has called O’Rourke an “impressive young man” in a recent interview with “The Axe Files” podcast, hosted by Obama’s former strategist, David Axelrod.

“It felt as if he based his statements and his positions on what he believed,” Obama said of O’Rourke’s Senate campaign. “And that, you’d like to think, is normally how things work. Sadly it’s not.”

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