O'Rourke draws parallels to Obama with 2020 announcement

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Beto O'Rourke's big announcement came not before a live audience of supporters Thursday, but live on social media from his family's El Paso living room.

"Amy and I are happy to share with you that I'm running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America," O'Rourke said. "This is a defining moment of truth for every single one of us."

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It's a new way of declaring for the highest office in the land and it's part of a strategy that will play a major role in the way candidates approach voters, says digital strategist Mageida Sopon.

"It's youth, millennial, engaged, active," Sopon said. "I think those are the main words to capture with the followers of Beto and how his campaign has really evolved."

The Facebook page H-Town for Beto is up, and there are donation sites that allowed him to outraise Sen. Ted Cruz during his 2018 race.

O'Rourke lost in a Texas senate race that was tighter than expected. The GIFs posted in comments Thursday include video of O'Rourke, running with the caption "Go Beto Go."

"The GIFs are huge in our generation now," Sopon said.

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It's a long way from Thursday's announcement on social media to the nomination with a crowded field, but O'Rourke is building on the momentum and the name recognition from last year's mid-term election, which also gave him national exposure and attention.

"And all the engagement you see is a response to that," Sopon said.

"When's the last time you saw a politician like that, with that kind of response?" ABC13's Deborah Wrigley asked.

"The last time I saw that was with Barack Obama," she replied.

Follow Deborah Wrigley on Facebook and Twitter.

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