On Thursday, Beto O'Rourke finally made his 2020 plans official, potentially setting him on a path to become America's first punk-rock president.
O'Rourke, 46, experienced a meteoric political rise despite losing a close race against Ted Cruz for one of Texas' two U.S. Senate seats in 2018. Just two years ago, you probably would have had no idea who O'Rourke was — unless you happened to live in El Paso, Texas, where he served three terms in the House of Representatives.
But his grassroots campaign that inspired a strong turnout among Texas Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections and his ability to connect younger voters spurred many of his supporters to call for O'Rourke to make a run at the White House — a call he finally answered this week with a cover story in Vanity Fair announcing his presidential ambitions.
"I want to be in it," O'Rourke tells Vanity Fair about the much-hyped 2020 presidential race. "Man, I'm just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment."
Over 25 years ago, though, O'Rourke was just another Ivy League student with a predilection for skateboarding, long hair and reportedly punk bands like Jawbox and Fugazi.
Born and raised in upper middle-class family in El Paso, O'Rourke (whose full name is Robert Francis O'Rourke, though he goes by the common Spanish nickname for people named "Roberto") went to college in New York City at Columbia University, where he majored in English and graduated in 1995.
At Columbia, O'Rourke was not particularly engaged in politics, according to some of his former classmates, and he instead spent much of his time rowing for the school's heavyweight crew team and playing music.
While at Columbia, O'Rourke played bass in a punk band he formed called Foss, which played small gigs across the United States and Canada during his summer break.
In 1993, Foss self-released an album called "The El Paso Pussycats." Rolling Stone even put a track from the album online last year and the Texas GOP tweeted a copy of the album's cover, seemingly to mock O'Rourke, though the move backfired.
One of O'Rourke's Foss bandmates, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, later won a Grammy in 2008 with the band Mars Volta and told the Dallas Observer in 2017 that O'Rourke was a mentor: "The way I make art, I learned it from Beto."