Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who recently lost a heated Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, said Monday that he isn't ruling out a presidential run — despite saying the opposite during his recent campaign.
Speaking at a town hall in El Paso, O'Rourke was asked by an audience member if he had any plans to run for president in 2020. The three-term congressman said that right now, he's focused on his family and representing Texas' 16th District until he leaves the House on Jan. 3.
But once that time comes, O'Rourke said he and his wife will "think about what we can do next to contribute to the best of our ability to this community."
O'Rourke then grinned at his wife, Amy, asking, "Was that OK?"
The Democratic representative had said in October that he would "not be a candidate for president in 2020." But after Monday's town hall, O'Rourke told reporters that, during his recent campaign, winning the race was "100 percent our focus."
"Now that that is no longer possible, we’re thinking through a number of things and Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out," O'Rourke said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "The best advice I received from people who’ve run for and won and run for and lost elections like this, is don’t make any decisions about anything until you’ve had some time to hang with your family and just be human. And so I am following that advice."
O'Rourke lost to Cruz 48 percent to 51 percent in one of the most closely-watched midterm elections. Former President Barack Obama last week called O'Rourke an "impressive young man" who appears to be a politician running on a platform that he actually believes.
Celebrities were quick to support O'Rourke following his loss, too, tweeting that his loss opened him up for a presidential run.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.