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Democratic 2020 field taking shape with Beto O'Rourke entry (copy)

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke speaks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 13 hall, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Burlington, Iowa. O'Rourke announced Thursday that he'll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. 

Days after officially launching his presidential campaign, Beto O'Rourke will make his second visit to Wisconsin on Sunday.

O'Rourke's visit also comes days after the Democratic National Committee announced it will hold its 2020 convention in Milwaukee, further solidifying Wisconsin's role as a battleground state four years after it propelled President Donald Trump to the White House.

Although potential contenders have been visiting Wisconsin's capital city for months, O'Rourke is the first announced candidate to visit Madison in the 2020 cycle.

Sources close to the campaign said Friday he will visit Cargo Coffee in Madison on Sunday morning, followed by a stop in Milwaukee later that day.

The 46-year-old former Texas congressman officially entered the race on Thursday, months after losing a bid to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by less than 3 points. He immediately followed his announcement with a three-day road trip throughout Iowa. 

Last month, prior to launching his campaign, O'Rourke met with a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison students and faculty and with a smaller group at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Sources said Wisconsin is one of several states including Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania the candidate will visit in the early weeks of his campaign as he prepares for an official kickoff event on March 30 in El Paso, Texas.

Wisconsin delivered its 10 electoral votes to President Donald Trump by a 22,000-vote margin in 2016, making him the first Republican presidential candidate to win the state since 1984.

In the months that followed Trump's victory, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was widely criticized for not setting foot in Wisconsin after losing the state's primary to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Trump has returned to Wisconsin several times since the election, most recently to campaign for former Gov. Scott Walker and former U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir in October. Both lost their 2018 races.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who launched her presidential campaign last month, made a stop in Eau Claire shortly after announcing her candidacy. Klobuchar also visited Madison to speak at the Cap Times Idea Fest in 2017, when she was still tight-lipped about her plans. 

Other candidates who have visited Wisconsin in recent years and have since launched presidential campaigns include California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.

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