Beto O’Rourke, the newest Democratic 2020 candidate, will stop in Charleston for a policy discussion with S.C. Sen. Marlon Kimpson on Sat. March 23.

The former congressman from Texas who usually goes by his first name, gained national notoriety in 2018 for nearly unseating U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. A longtime GOP stalwart, Cruz and his new beard managed to sneak by with the win, but O’Rourke seems to be ready to capitalize on his national profile as a symbol of an energetic young Democrat eager to unseat President Donald Trump.

Beto will be the first candidate hosted by Kimpson for the 2020 campaign. The Charleston senator previously hosted 2016 Democratic candidates including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley.

Saturday’s town hall meeting will be held on Sat. March 23 at 9:25 a.m. at Burke High School (244 President St.). The event is free and open to the public. (NOTE: This event was originally scheduled for the ILA hall.)

Nationally, voters appear ready to embrace a more progressive economic agenda that has been championed by the likes of Sanders and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, all of whom are also running for president.

O’Rourke is a high-profile entrant into the race, but his debut hasn’t been exactly a honeymoon. Since he announced with a splashy Vanity Fair spread photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Beto has been dogged by questions about how and why he, as a 46-year-old white man without any notable policy record or political profile beyond his 2018 Senate campaign, decided he is prepared to be president.

(To be fair, Beto is coming to Charleston just months after voters here elected Joe Cunningham, a 36-year-old attorney with no political experience, to Congress.)

On Friday, Reuters reported Beto’s “secret membership” in a hacker group which included teenage writings that discussed killing children. (He later called those “not anything that I’m proud of today.”)

The Washington Post described O’Rourke’s decision to run for office as an informal process he wandered into as he was brushing his teeth one morning.

For her part, Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed any anxiety over the silly notion of presidential qualifications when asked about Beto, referring to Trump’s nonexistent political resume before he won the nation’s highest office. Trump assailed Beto’s “crazy” hand gestures when asked about his new potential challenger.

Teaser photo from Beto O’Rourke Facebook.

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