Spurred by gun violence, Amy O'Rourke will make solo campaign trail debut

Brittany Shepherd
National Politics Reporter
Amy O’Rourke (Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — As Beto O’Rourke attempts to showcase a newly fired-up and expletive-prone version of himself across America, his wife is ready to step into the ring as well. Amy O’Rourke, who has previously shied away from the press, will make her solo campaign trail debut in a three-day stop in New Hampshire later this week, the beginning of what's planned to be an aggressive campaign swing.

According to the O’Rourke campaign, two recent deadly mass shootings in Texas was the latest of several factors motivating her to step out of her comfort zone and embrace the role head-on, pushing for schedules as packed as her husband’s. While in New Hampshire, Amy O’Rourke is set to join a roundtable discussion on gun violence with self-described “peaceful and nonviolent grassroots” organization Kent Street Coalition on Sept. 5 to discuss gun reform.

O’Rourke adds that she’s particularly eager to discuss gun violence prevention: “I want to hear about the efforts of local activists across the state including parents in New Hampshire, help lift their voices, and do my part in pushing for common sense gun reform.”

In a statement to Yahoo News, Amy O’Rourke said she was “excited” to hit the campaign trail. “I am going to New Hampshire to listen and learn about issues on the ground,” she said. “I will be visiting with small-business owners, supporting a down-ballot race, and visiting [the University of New Hampshire] to speak with student journalists who, like so many young people, are leading the charge on climate change, equality and college affordability.”

Later that same day, she will make a play to college-age voters as a guest on WUNH-FM, the student radio station, and then move on to door knocking for Naomi Andrews, a Democrat running for state representative in the state’s special election — mirroring her husband’s push to make down-ballot initiatives central to his campaign’s dogma. Last week Beto O’Rourke canvassed for Amy Laufer and Dan Helmer, who are both running in local elections in Virginia.

On Friday, Amy O’Rourke will tour a local small business in Londonderry, then link up with her husband for joint events, concluding with the state’s Democratic Party State Convention on Sept. 7.

Back in early June, the couple traveled to Iowa for their first joint campaign event, and while Amy O’Rourke made appearances at several stops, including a Cedar Rapids office opening and an immigration roundtable, she shied away from press rope lines, instead choosing to chat with supporters and event participants while her husband spoke with reporters. Later, however, she launched a new Instagram account and appeared on the notoriously combative morning show “The View.” Her New Hampshire campaign swing — at least according to the campaign — will show O’Rourke’s more assertive side.

Beto O’Rourke faces an uphill battle when it comes to polling in New Hampshire; averages compiled by RealClearPolitics put the former Texas lawmaker polling around 1.3 percent. When his numbers dipped to similar levels in Iowa, O’Rourke told Yahoo News that if he were elected president, “no poll will guide the decisions that I make.”

At a discussion at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, back in June, Beto O’Rourke told Yahoo News that his wife’s presence was a boon to his ground game. “The only risk is that someone wishes she were the candidate instead of me,” he jokes, “but it’s too late for that.”


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