CONWAY — Less than a week after formally throwing his 10-gallon hat into the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas is heading to the Granite State, with a planned stop in Conway Village today.
O’Rourke, who announced his candidacy in a his hometown of El Paso, Texas, last Thursday, will be the first of three prominent Democrats to head to the Mount Washington Valley to court voters over the next five days.
New York City-based entrepreneur Andrew Yang is scheduled to be in North Conway on Thursday, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is slated to speak at Kennett Middle School this Sunday.
Fourteen Democrats have officially entered the race to be their party's nominee in the race for the White House.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey was the first to visit the valley, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd in the lobby of the law offices of Cooper, Cargill and Chant in North Conway on Feb. 16.
O’Rourke, 46, has said he plans to visit all 10 counties in the Granite State during a quick three-day swing.
He will be at Tuckerman Brewing Co. at 66 Hobbs St. in Conway Village on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
O’Rourke reportedly drove here from Iowa in a rented minivan. He was set to speak Tuesday night at Keene State College and start his Wednesday off with meet-and-greets at The Common Man Inn in Claremont at 8:30 a.m. and then Plymouth State College at 11 a.m., before heading to Conway.
He is scheduled to wrap up his Wednesday with a meet-and-greet at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, O’Rourke has planned stops in Portsmouth, Manchester and Laconia.
After serving three terms in Congress from Texas' 16th congressional district, O’Rourke burst onto the national scene last year when he challenged, on a shoestring budget, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in what turned out to be the closest Senate race in the state of Texas in 40 years.
O'Rourke fell roughly 220,000 votes short (out of 8.3 million) of unseating Cruz, but became a rising star in his party in the process.
“The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory,” O’Rourke said on his Facebook page when he announced his bid for the White House.
“No one person can meet these challenges on their own. Only this country can do that, and only if we build a grassroots movement that includes all of us," O'Rourke continued.
"It will be animated by an ambition for the country that recognizes that the obstacles we face will only be overcome by lifting each other up; that the opportunities before us will only be realized by overcoming the differences between us before they define us forever.”
O’Rourke and wife Amy have two children, Molly and Henry, and two dogs and a cat.
Meanwhile, Warren who has previously visited southern New Hampshire recently, has planned stops in Coos and Carroll County this weekend.
On Saturday, she will take part in a community conversation on the opioid crisis at Littleton High School at 2:30 p.m., followed by a meet-and-greet at the Berlin City Hall at 5:40 p.m.
On Sunday, March 24, Warren is slated to take part in a Conway organizing event at Kennett Middle School at 11:45 a.m. Doors will open at 10:45 a.m.
Warren, 69, is the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, having served since 2013. She announced her candidacy on Feb. 8 at a rally in Lawrence, Mass.
She called for major changes in government, taking direct aim at President Donald J. Trump.
“It won't be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration,” she said. “We can't afford to just tinker around the edges — a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change. This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone.”
Warren, who is married to Bruce Mann, has two grown children (Amelia and Alexander). She came to politics from the world of academia, having taught law at a number of universities, including Harvard.
She was the state debate champion in Oklahoma, graduating from high school at age 16.
Known for her consumer advocacy and efforts to weaken big financial institutes, Warren was named by President Barack Obama to be a special adviser for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
She pulls no punches when talking about Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for a run at a second term.
“Trump is not ‘draining the swamp,’” she said. “Nope, he’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door and he’s turning them loose on our government and our economy.”
On Thursday, Yang is scheduled to arrive at 1:30 p.m. at the Sun, where he will take questions from the Sun editorial board and other attendees in a public forum being hosted in the newspaper's pressroom.
“It’s a bit of an experiment because we are holding it in our pressroom, which is our biggest open space in the Sun building,” said Sun Publisher Mark Guerringue.
“It will be up to Yang to determine how long he wants to stay to meet and greet, but he’s welcome to stay as long as he wants,” Guerringue said.
If you plan to attend the Sun’s “Meet at the Press” editorial board, please indicate that by visiting Andrew Yang for President 2020 on Facebook and checking in.
Following his visit to the Sun, Yang is scheduled to head to a meet-and-greet in Randolph at 5 p.m. He also plans to make an appearance in Berlin at 10 a.m. at the Eastern Depot Restaurant on Friday.
Also in the field for Democratic nomination are former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New Age author Marianne Williamson.
Reporter Daymond Steer contributed to this story.