Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum’s name continues to be mentioned in discussions among party leaders about the future direction of the party. A new report says Gillum recently spoke by phone to Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke who supposedly is considering his prospects for running for president in 2020.
NBC News reports that O’Rourke has been talking with leaders of the African American community, a key constituency within the Democratic Party, including former President Barack Obama, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Gillum.
The O’Rourke-Obama meeting was first reported by The Washington Post. The phone call with Gillum had not been previously reported.
Gillum and O’Rourke reportedly discussed their desire for someone young and progressive to lead the party. NBC News cited two anonymous sources.
One source, granted anonymity to describe a private conversation, said the pair discussed their mutual preference that someone “young and unapologetically progressive” lead the Democratic Party going forward. The two men had never spoken before, according to the source, and it was Gillum who reached out to O’Rourke to arrange the call.
It was previously reported that Gillum met last week with Obama in his Washington office. There has been ongoing speculation that Gillum, as well as O’Rourke, might be considering a potential 2020 presidential bid.
Sharpton reportedly talked with O’Rourke on Friday when the congressman called to tell the civil rights leader that he could not attend a Martin Luther King Jr. event in January. Sharpton told NBC News that O’Rourke wanted to keep lines of communication open.
Sharpton said O’Rourke offered no clues about his possible presidential intentions, which O’Rourke has been re-thinking. After seemingly closing the door on a White House run during his Senate campaign, he re-opened it late last month, saying he had ”made a decision to not rule anything out.”
Gillum and O’Rourke are both seen as rising stars within the Democratic Party. Both men came up just short in their bids for elected office in last month’s election. Gillum narrowly lost to former Republican congressman Ron DeSantis in the race for governor, while O’Rourke was defeated by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in his bid for the U.S. Senate.