Former congressman Beto O'Rourke will not make another run at a U.S. Senate seat, though he says he's made a decision about his next step and will announce it soon.
NBC 5's media partner The Dallas Morning News first reported Wednesday that O'Rourke has decided not to challenge incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in 2020. Two sources familiar with O'Rourke's thinking confirmed that to NBC News.
For nearly a month — since O'Rourke's Feb. 5 interview with Oprah Winfrey — there has been speculation that the El Paso native would declare his candidacy to be the Democratic nominee for president.
People close to O'Rourke told The Dallas Morning News they expected him to announce a presidential campaign within weeks.
"Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country," O'Rourke said in a statement Wednesday. "We are excited to share it with everyone soon."
O'Rourke told Winfrey he would make a decision before the end of February, and that he had "been thinking about running for president."
Six days later, with President Donald Trump in O'Rourke's hometown of El Paso, O'Rourke spoke at a counter-rally within shouting distance of the coliseum where the president spoke.
"With the eyes of the country upon us, all of us together are going to make our stand here in one of the safest cities in America," O'Rourke said. "Safe not because of walls but in spite of walls."
O'Rourke lost to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz by less than three percentage points in the 2018 Senate race, coming closer to unseating an incumbent Republican senator in the state than anyone since Democrat Bob Krueger narrowly lost to Republican John Tower in 1978, according to the Texas Tribune.
Since his loss in the midterms, O'Rourke has chosen an unorthodox path as he tries to decide whether or not to run.
On Jan. 10, he livestreamed a visit to the dentist; he wrote regularly on the website Medium about a solo roadtrip he took through parts of the country, stopping in states like Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico; he was interviewed by Winfrey in New York City.
If O'Rourke decides to run for president, he would be the second candidate from Texas to enter the race, joining former San Antonio mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the Obama administration Julian Castro.