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2020 Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke Visits State College Tuesday

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will host a meet-and-greet at the HUB Robeson Center on Penn State’s University Park campus at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 19. The event is open to public with RSVP. He's the first declared presidential candidate to visit the university for the 2020 race.


On Monday, his campaign said O’Rourke raised more than $6 million online during the first 24 hours after he announced his bid for the White House, the highest first-day number reported by any candidate, according to the Associated Press.


The "record-breaking" $6.1 million came "without a dime" from political action committees, corporations or special interests, O'Rourke spokesman Chris Evans tweeted.


The amount is just above what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders reported for his first day as a candidate.


O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman, jumped into the 2020 presidential race on Thursday after months of speculation, shaking up the already packed Democratic field and pledging to win over voters from across the political spectrum.


O'Rourke raised an eye-popping $80 million in grassroots donations last year in his failed U.S. Senate race in Texas against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, all while largely avoiding money from PACs. His early fundraising numbers in the presidential contest will be seen as an initial signal of whether his popularity during the Senate campaign will carry over to his White House bid.


O’Rourke spent Sunday talking to voters in Madison, Wisconsin. Speaking in front of a large map of Russia inside a coffee shop in Wisconsin's capital, O'Rourke promised to return often, addressing concerns Democrats raised in 2016 after Hillary Clinton never campaigned in the state after her party's primary and lost the state to Donald Trump by fewer than 23,000 votes.


"This state is fundamental to any prospect we have of electing a Democrat to the presidency in 2020," O'Rourke said, adding that he was "really glad" Milwaukee was chosen to host the 2020 Democratic national convention. The city, which O'Rourke was visiting later Sunday, beat out Miami and Houston.


O'Rourke spent months hinting that he was running for president before finally announcing last week. He immediately drew overflow crowds at stops across Iowa, which kicks off presidential primary voting, but then was driving a Dodge Caravan to the battleground midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio — hoping to indicate that, beyond the primary, he can be a strong Democrat and win places where Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016.

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.