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  1. ITV Report

Five things to know about US 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke

Mr O’Rourke was little-known outside his hometown of El Paso until he challenged Republican Senator Ted Cruz last year. Credit: AP

US Democrat Beto O’Rourke has said that he is running for president in 2020.

The former Texas congressman sent a text message to TV station KTSM on Wednesday afternoon confirming the news that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

He wrote: “I’m really proud of what El Paso did and what El Paso represents. It’s a big part of why I’m running. This city is the best example of this country at its best.”

Mr O’Rourke was little-known outside his hometown of El Paso until he challenged Republican Senator Ted Cruz last year.

He got within three percentage points of upsetting Mr Cruz in the nation’s largest red state and shattered national fundraising records while using grassroots organising and social media savvy to mobilise young voters and minorities.

He later released a video on Twitter sealing his bid for the White House.

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Appearing alongside his wife, he said: "This moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside of it."

Here are five things you need to know

  • His name is not Beto

Beto is a nickname he picked up in El Paso. It's short for Roberto, which is also his grandfather's name.

As an El Paso native, he served on the city council from 2005 to 2011 before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2012.

  • He can skateboard very well

He could be one of the few presidential candidates who knows how to get around on a skateboard without falling off.

In August he was filmed outside a fast food chain in Texas adeptly riding around the venue's car park.

  • His rhetoric on immigration and race has won him support from Texas' hispanic population

At a rally in October, one group of Hispanic teenagers, who skipped school to be at the event, could barely hold back the tears.

They showed ITV News the selfies they took with O’Rourke and talk about their parents' journeys from Mexico.

“What means so much is to hear him talk about us in a positive way,” Katherine Alvarez told ITV News.

  • His "hand movements" drew criticism from Trump

O’Rourke's body language drew attention from current US President Donald Trump.

He told reporters at the White House: "Well, I think he'd got a lot of hand movement.

"I've never seen so much hand movement. I said 'is he crazy' or is it just the way he acts?'"

Mr Trump refused to say whether O'Rouke was a bigger threat compared to Joe Biden, instead saying: "I just say whoever it is, I'll take them all."

  • He's a former punk rocker

While studying at Columbia University, he formed a punk band in which he played bass.

The band were called Foss and while none of their songs are available on digital platforms, a 1993 performance is still online on YouTube.