10 facts about Beto O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke formally threw his hat in the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday. Here's some things you might not know about the native Texan:

1. MET WIFE ON A BLIND DATE

O'Rourke met then-teacher Amy Hoover Sanders on a blind date in El Paso after being set up by friends. He took her across the border into Juarez, Mexico, for drinks. "It was a little bit of a test, to see if she was up for an adventure," he told the Washington Post in 2017. They got married 10 months later.

2. WORKED AS A NANNY

After graduating from Columbia University, O'Rourke reportedly worked for a few months as a live-in nanny for a family on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He took several other temporary gigs, including as an art mover for a company called Hedley's Humpers. He later returned to El Paso, where he started his own media company, called Stanton Street. It helped build and maintain websites, and published an alt-weekly style paper.

3. POLITICS IN THE FAMILY

O'Rourke's father, Pat O'Rourke, was El Paso County Commissioner from 1978 to 1982 and a county judge from 1982 to 1986. The dad also worked on Rev. Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign in 1988.

4. WON SOME ELECTIONS

While he's best known for losing his Senate race campaign against incumbent Ted Cruz in 2018, O'Rourke had been 5-0 in elections before that. He was elected to the El Paso City Council in 2005, defeating a two-term incumbent, and was later re-elected. He first ran for Congress in 2012, and reportedly knocked on 16,000 doors to defeat an eight-term incumbent in the Democratic primary. He served three terms before launching his Senate bid, where he was defeated by heavy favorite Cruz by a margin of 50.9 percent to 48.3 percent.

Related: Beto O'Rourke throughout his political career:

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Beto O'Rourke throughout his political career
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Beto O'Rourke throughout his political career
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Rep.-elect Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, speaks to reporters after a news conference with democratic members-elect in the Capitol Visitor Center. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
**ADVANCE FOR MONDAY, OCT 31** El Paso City Representatives Steve Ortega, left and Beto O'Rourke pose with a backdrop of Downtown El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005. The two and three other colleagues, all political newcomers under 35, were elected this year to the El Paso city council. The group of young up-and-comers say they took on their public roles to make El Paso the kind of city it should be, the kind it has long struggled to become. (AP Photo/El Paso Times, Victor Calzada)
US Rep. Beto O'Rourke (R), D-TX, speaks during a meeting with One Campaign volunteers including Jeseus Navarrete (L) on February 26, 2013 in O'Rouke's office in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGANWith the United States days away from billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts, anti-poverty campaigners fear that reductions in foreign aid could potentially lead to thousands of deaths. The world's largest economy faces $85 billion in cuts virtually across the board starting on March 1, 2013 unless the White House and Congress reach a last-minute deal ahead of the self-imposed deadline known as the sequester. While the showdown has caused concern in numerous circles, activists are pushing hard to avoid a 5.3 percent cut in US development assistance which they fear could set back programs to feed the poor and prevent disease. 'The sequester is an equal cut across the board, but equal cuts don't have equal impact,' said Tom Hart, US executive director of the One campaign, the anti-poverty group co-founded by U2 frontman Bono. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 23: Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, rides his bike after a democratic congressional baseball practice in Northeast. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 23: Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, is pictured at a democratic congressional baseball practice in Northeast. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
US Rep. Beto O'Rourke , D-TX, meets with One campaign volunteers on February 26, 2013 in O'Rouke's office in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. With the United States days away from billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts, anti-poverty campaigners fear that reductions in foreign aid could potentially lead to thousands of deaths. The world's largest economy faces $85 billion in cuts virtually across the board starting on March 1, 2013 unless the White House and Congress reach a last-minute deal ahead of the self-imposed deadline known as the sequester. While the showdown has caused concern in numerous circles, activists are pushing hard to avoid a 5.3 percent cut in US development assistance which they fear could set back programs to feed the poor and prevent disease. 'The sequester is an equal cut across the board, but equal cuts don't have equal impact,' said Tom Hart, US executive director of the One campaign, the anti-poverty group co-founded by U2 frontman Bono. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, walks down the House steps of the Capitol following the last votes of the week on Friday, June 14, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. citizen Edgar Falcon, second from right, and Maricruz Valtierra of Mexico, second from left, laugh while El Paso congressman Beto O'Rourke, right, and Judge Bill Moody, left, congratulate them after the couple was married at U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 in El Paso, Texas. Like many other couples made up of a US citizen and a foreigner, Falcon and Valtierra, who has been declared inadmissible after an immigration law violation, hope immigration reform will help them live together in the U.S. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, stands with his family for a ceremonial photo with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, in the Rayburn Room of the Capitol after the new 113th Congress convened on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, in Washington. The official oath of office for all members of the House was administered earlier in the House chamber. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas., surrounded by border region leaders, human rights experts, and residents, speaks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013., during a news conference to explain what border communities are asking for in the context of immigration reform. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Congressman Beto O'Rourke, center, speaks at a new conference accompanied by Lillian D'Amico, left, mother of a deceased veteran, and Melinda Russel, a former Army chaplain, in El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, June. 4, 2014. A survey of hundreds of West Texas veterans conducted by O'Rourke's office has found that on average they wait more than two months to see a Veterans Affairs mental health professional and even longer to see a physician. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 29: U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, asks a question of former Army Capt. Debra Gipson during a House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee hearing on 'Defined Expectations: Evaluating VA's Performance in the Service Member Transition Process' in the Cannon House Office Building, May 29, 2014, in Washington, DC. Ms. Gipson suffered a severe back injury while en route to Afghanistan. (Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images)
Democratic candidate for the US Senate Beto ORourke addresses his last public event in Austin before election night at the Pan American Neighborhood Park on November 4, 2018 in Austin, Texas. - One of the most expensive and closely watched Senate races is in Texas, where incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz is facing Democratic Representative Beto O'Rourke. O'Rourke, 46, whose given names are Robert Francis but who goes by Beto, is mounting a suprisingly strong challenge to the 47-year-old Cruz in the reliably Republican 'Lone Star State.' O'Rourke, a three-term congressman and former member of a punk band, is drawing enthusiastic support from many urban dwellers in Texas while Cruz does better in conservative rural areas. Plucking the Senate seat from Cruz, who battled Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, would be a major victory for the Democratic Party. (Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP) (Photo credit should read SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, of El Paso, Texas, speaks at the University of Texas at Dallas Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Richardson, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, walks during a protest march in downtown Dallas, Sunday, April 9, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, left, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, take part in a debate for the Texas U.S. Senate, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, in San Antonio. (Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News via AP, Pool)
Texas Congressman Beto ORourke gives his concession speech during the election night party at Southwest University Park in downtown El Paso on November 6, 2018. - After a close race for senate, ORourke conceded to incumbent Ted Cruz in his home town. (Photo by Paul Ratje / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Democratic Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke gestures during a live interview with Oprah Winfrey on a Times Square stage at "Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square," Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in New York. O'Rourke dazzled Democrats in 2018 by nearly defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the country's largest red state. O'Rourke says he'll announce whether he'll run for president "before the end of the month." (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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5. WAS A 'PUNK' KID

O'Rourke has said he got into punk music in eighth grade thanks to the classic Clash album "London Calling." He and three pals formed a band called Foss, and put out a record called "The El Paso Pussycats" in 1993. O'Rourke played bass.

6. AN ARREST RECORD

Vinyl isn't O'Rourke's only kind of record. He was arrested in 1995 for sneaking under a fence with some friends to get onto the property of the University of Texas in El Paso. A misdemeanor burglary charge was dropped the next year. In 1998, O'Rourke was arrested for what he's called a "far more serious mistake: I drove under the influence." He was reportedly speeding and hit a truck. No injuries were reported. The charge was dismissed in 1999 after O'Rourke finished a court-recommended DWI program.

7. SKATEBOARDS

O'Rourke is a longtime skateboarder — and did an interview with boarding bible Thrasher Magazine during his Senate run.

8. GREAT BOOKS

O'Rourke says one of his favorite books is Homer's "The Odyssey," and he named his oldest sun Ulysses, 12, after the classic poem's lead character. He and his wife, who now heads a non-profit focused on education, have two other children, Molly and Henry. They also have two dogs and a cat.

9. THAT NICKNAME

O'Rourke is of Irish descent, and his full name is Robert Francis O'Rourke. O'Rourke said his parents started calling him "Beto" — a common nickname for Roberto in Mexico — as a child. Cruz accused him of adopting the name to sound Hispanic during their bitter senate battle. That led O'Rourke's supporters to accuse Cruz, whose first name is Rafael, of using his nickname as his first name to sound less Hispanic. O'Rourke also tweeted a picture of himself wearing a shirt with the name as a child to prove he was no Beto-come-lately.10. BORN TO RUN...

O'Rourke's dad reportedly told people he'd given his son the nickname in part just in case he ever decided to run for office in El Paso. "I believe it, I believe it," Beto O'Rourke told the Dallas Morning News when told of his father had said. "He was farsighted in that way."

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