Difference between revisions of "Beto O'Rourke"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(American response in Syria)
(American response in Syria)
Line 89: Line 89:
===American response in Syria===
===American response in Syria===
:: ''See also: [[United States involvement in Syria]]''
{{Syria letter|Name=O'Rourke}}
{{Syria letter|Name=O'Rourke}}

Revision as of 10:48, 6 September 2013

Beto O'Rourke
Beto O'Rourke.jpg
U.S. House, Texas, District 16
In office
January 3, 2013-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 2
PredecessorSilvestre Reyes (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$685,661
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
El Paso City Council
Bachelor'sColumbia University
Date of birthSeptember 26, 1972
Place of birthEl Paso, Texas
ProfessionSmall Business Owner
Net worth$6,653,843
Office website
Campaign website
Beto O'Rourke (b. September 26, 1972 in El Paso, Texas) is a Democratic member of the U.S. House representing Texas' 16th congressional district of Texas. He was first elected in 2012.[1] He defeated incumbent Silvestre Reyes, Ben Mendoza and Jerome Tilghman in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012. He went on to defeat Barbara Carrasco (R) and Junart Sodoy (L) in the November 6, 2012, general election.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, O'Rourke is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


O'Rourke grew up in El Paso. He graduated from Columbia University in 1995 with a degree in English. After he graduated, he got a job with a Manhattan web technology company. After three years, he returned to El Paso and co-founded Stanton Street Technology, an internet services and software company, in 1999.[2]


  • 2005-2011: El Paso City Council[2]
  • 1999-present: Owner, Stanton Street Technology Group[2]
  • 2013-present: U.S. House of Representatives from Texas

Committee assignments

U.S. House


O'Rourke serves on the following committees:[3]


American response in Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

More than 100 House lawmakers signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to call Congress back into session if he planned to use military force in Syria.[4]

Rep. Scott Rigell wrote in the letter in August 2013, “engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”[4][5]

The members of Congress believed that Obama should have asked Congress for permission before engaging in Libya. The letter asked, “If the use of 221 Tomahawk cruise missles, [sic] 704 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and 42 Predator Hellfire missiles expended in Libya does not constitute ‘hostilities,’ what does?”[5]

The letter stated, “If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request. We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict."[5]

A total of 98 Republicans signed the letter. O'Rourke was one of 18 Democratic members to sign the letter.[5]

On August 29, 2013, more than 50 House Democrats signed a letter written by California Rep. Barbara Lee that called for a congressional resolution on strikes, and cautioned that the dire situation in Syria "should not draw us into an unwise war—especially without adhering to our constitutional requirements."[5][6] The letter also called on the Obama administration to work with the U.N. Security Council “to build international consensus” condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons. O'Rourke was one of the 50 Democrats in the House to sign the letter.[5][6]

Campaign issues


O'Rourke's campaign website listed the following issues:[7]

  • End Corruption
Excerpt: "The corruption that plagues our community has to stop, but we need reform and new leadership, especially in D.C. where members of Congress use our tax dollars to get re-elected. I will sponsor a bill to set term limits for representatives, so that they focus on getting the job done instead of the special interests that keep them in office."
  • True Democrat
Excerpt: "Instead of focusing on issues that are important to El Pasoans like the economy, jobs and ensuring that our community is well-represented in D.C., the incumbent has chosen to ask if I am a Democrat. Although I put community and country before party and partisan politics, I think my track record shows that I represent the best aspects of the Democratic Party."
  • Congressional Reform
Excerpt: "Each year the same people in Congress make the same self-serving decisions that leave us unprepared to revive a depressed economy, reverse a growing debt burden and renew America's leadership in the 21st century. The country is fed up. Congress' approval rating is now at 9%. So why does Congress have a re-election rate that rivals that of a Middle East dictator (93% over the last 5 years), despite having the lowest approval rating in history?"
  • Healthcare Reform
Excerpt: "While these are important issues to address, the act fails to address problems that are specific to El Paso and the border. As your congressman I will work to make sure that future legislation that carries out the provisions of the PPACA will help, and not hurt, El Paso."
  • Reyes Works?
Excerpt: "You may have seen the billboards reading "Reyes Works", here are the facts: Reyes has one of the worst voting and attendance records in Congress."
  • Jobs and the Economy
Excerpt: "There is greater economic opportunity in this region than in almost any other part of Americas right now. Whether it's our enviable position as the world's largest bi-national metroplex, having the country's largest military installation at Ft. Bliss or the country's newest four-year medical school as the anchor for the Medical Center of the Americas, there is abundant opportunity here."
  • Veterans Affairs
Excerpt: "Our veterans have honorably served our nation. It's time that our nation return the commitment and ensure that they are treated fairly, with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, as far too many veterans in El Paso have shared with me, they do not have the support they are owed."
  • Education
Excerpt: "Investment in education is key to the economic vitality of the nation and the region. As we move away from becoming a manufacturing nation, most jobs will come from a highly skilled labor force. Currently, the U.S. must hire 227,000 scientists and engineers from abroad to keep up with the demand in the U.S. economy."
  • Fort Bliss
Excerpt: "From the time of General John Pershing to the stewardship provided today by Major General Pittard, El Paso has been fortunate to have a strong relationship with Ft. Bliss. I will work to ensure that relationship produces more jobs and economic activity for local businesses in the future."
  • Term Limits
Excerpt: "Unfortunately, most house members are career politicians who are more concerned with the next election cycle than in making these tough decisions. They put personal considerations, party loyalty and payback to lobbyists and big donors before principle. "



See also: Texas' 16th congressional district elections, 2014

O'Rourke is set to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. If he runs, he will seek the Democratic nomination in the primary election on March 4, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: Texas' 16th congressional district elections, 2012

O'Rourke won election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Texas' 16th District. He defeated incumbent Silvestre Reyes, Ben Mendoza, and Jerome Tilghman in the Democratic primary on May 29, 2012. He then defeated Barbara Carrasco (R) and Junart Sodoy (L) in the November 6, 2012, general election.[8][9]

According to Politico, Beto O'Rourke presented Reyes' first real primary threat since the incumbent was elected. O'Rourke portrayed Reyes as unresponsive and entrenched; the challenger also raised significant funding and stands to receive support from the Campaign for Primary Accountability. Reyes responded by gathering endorsements from Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as pointing out O'Rourke's support of marijuana legalization.[10]

U.S. House, Texas District 16 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 65.4% 101,403
     Republican Barbara Carrasco 32.9% 51,043
     Libertarian Junart Sodoy 1.7% 2,559
Total Votes 155,005
Source: Texas Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

U.S. House, Texas District 16 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBeto O'Rourke 50.5% 23,261
Silvestre Reyes Incumbent 44.3% 20,440
Jerome Tilghman 2.8% 1,270
Ben Mendoza 1.5% 701
Paul Johnson, Jr. 0.9% 419
Total Votes 46,091

Opponent targeted

O'Rourke's opponent, incumbent Silvestre Reyes was targeted by the Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability in the 16th district Democratic primary. The PAC targeted Reyes, because he served for a long time, his constituents were dissatisfied, and there was a capable challenger.[11]

A Reyes spokesperson criticized the Campaign for Primary Accountability's implicit support of primary Reyes challenger O'Rourke, pointing out that Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had contributed to the PAC for its efforts in a Republican primary in Illinois. The Huffington Post reports that O'Rourke responded by distancing himself from Cantor, saying he is unfamiliar with the House Majority Leader's politics, but that "if he is emblematic about Republican ideology," O'Rourke would rarely agree with Cantor.[12]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for O'Rourke is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, O'Rourke raised a total of $685,661 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[13]

Beto O'Rourke's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 US House (Texas, District 16) Won $685,661
Grand Total Raised $685,661


Candidates for Congress are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are O'Rourke's reports.[14]

Beto O'Rourke (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[15]April 15, 2013$66,920.12$116,506.56$(38,346.24)$145,080.44
July Quarterly[16]July 15, 2013$145,080.44$102,846.00$(30,746.58)$217,179.86
Running totals


Breakdown of the source of O'Rourke's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

O'Rourke won election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, O'Rourke's campaign committee raised a total of $685,661 and spent $618,526.[17] This is less than the average $1.5 million spent by House winners in 2012.[18]

Cost per vote

O'Rourke spent $6.10 per vote received in 2012.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, O'Rourke is a "centrist Democrat" as of June 4, 2013.[19]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[20]

O'Rourke most often votes with:

O'Rourke least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, O'Rourke missed 0 of 89 roll call votes from January 2013 to March 2013. This amounts to 0.0%, which is better than the median of 2.2% among current congressional representatives as of March 2013.[21]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, O'Rourke's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $-1,546,154 to $14,853,840. That averages to $6,653,843, which is higher than the average net worth of Democratic House members in 2011 of $5,107,874.[22]

Voting with party


The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, O'Rourke has voted with the Democratic Party 96.2% of the time. This ranked 63rd among the 201 House Democrats as of June 2013.[23]


O'Rourke lives in Sunset Heights with his wife, Amy Sanders, and their three children.[2]

Recent news

Know more information about this profile?
Submit a bio

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Beto + O'Rourke + Texas + Congress

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

  • Loading...

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. El Paso Times, "Beto O'Rourke to challenge Reyes for Congress", September 1, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 National Journal "Texas, 16th House District: Beto O'Rourke (D)," November 7, 2012
  3. CQ.com, House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress
  4. 4.0 4.1 Yahoo, "65 Lawmakers Ask Obama to Consult on Syria," accessed August 28, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Politico, "33 lawmakers: Congress must approve Syria action," accessed August 28, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Washington Post, "More than 50 House Democrats also want Syria strike resolution," accessed September 2, 2013
  7. Campaign website
  8. Republican candidate list
  9. Unofficial Republican primary results
  10. Politico "5 incumbents facing primary fight," May 3, 2012
  11. Houston Chronicle blog "Houston-based super PAC targeting more Texas incumbents," April 8, 2012
  12. Huffington Post "Eric Cantor Chaos: Campaign For Primary Accountability Donation Becomes Texas Democratic Issue," April 11, 2012
  13. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Beto O'Rourke," Accessed March 25, 2013
  14. Federal Election Commission "Beto O'Rourke Summary Report," Accessed July 24, 2013
  15. 'Federal Election Commission "Beto O'Rourke April Quarterly," Accessed July 24, 2013
  16. 'Federal Election Commission "Beto O'Rourke July Quarterly," Accessed July 24, 2013
  17. Open Secrets "Beto O'Rourke 2012 Election Cycle," Accessed March 5, 2013
  18. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," June 19, 2013
  19. Gov Track "Beto O'Rourke," Accessed June 4, 2013
  20. OpenCongress, "Beto O'Rourke," Accessed August 2, 2013
  21. GovTrack, "Beto O'Rourke," Accessed April 2, 2013
  22. OpenSecrets.org "Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), 2011," accessed February 22, 2013
  23. OpenCongress "Voting With Party," Accessed June 4, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Silvestre Reyes
U.S. House of Representatives - Texas District 16
Succeeded by