Texas university steps out of the shadows with political superstar in new faculty position
It may not be in the White House, but former presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke is starting a new job in January: professor. The Texas Democratic darling is taking a position at Texas State University in San Marcos, the university's paper reported on October 15.
According to the University Star, O'Rourke will join the Department of Political Science as an instructor beginning in the spring 2021 semester. O'Rourke's course will be virtual and focus on Texas politics, the paper reports.
In an interview with the University Star, the department's chair, Ken Grasso, said the school was "happy to have him."
A former representative for El Paso, O'Rourke made a 2018 run to unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Though unsuccessful, his grassroots campaign eventually caught the attention of Texas voters and political donors across the country, leading to the closest Texas Senate race in 40 years. (Cruz won 50.9 of the vote to O'Rourke's 48.3 percent.)
O'Rourke's rising star led to a recent bid for president, though he ended his campaign in November 2019. Since then, O'Rourke has been actively supporting Democratic nominees on the campaign trail, even organizing a star-studded, get-out-the-vote virtual event this week alongside Oprah Winfrey and Willie Nelson.
In his interview, Grasso said he hopes O'Rourke can bring some of that star power to Texas State.
“I don't know that so much it's going to increase enrollments; it'll certainly increase visibility,” Grasso told the University Star. “That's always a good thing. We tend to sometimes to get lost in the shadow of other institutions.”