FILE- In this May 6, 2019, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke listens to a speaker during a roundtable discussion on climate change in Des Moines, Iowa. O’Rourke says he’s hired 37 staffers to help with organizing in Iowa, boosting his presence in the state that kicks off presidential primary voting to 44. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Beto O'Rourke bolstering Iowa staff, field office operations

May 31, 2019 - 10:53 am

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Beto O'Rourke has hired 37 staffers to help with organizing in Iowa, boosting his team to 44 in the state that kicks off presidential primary voting and could become make-or-break for him.

Some 2020 presidential hopefuls have larger Iowa staffs, but O'Rourke's now approaching the upper tier. His campaign announced a "statewide weekend of action" beginning Saturday featuring canvassing.

The former Texas congressman and his wife, Amy, also will open a Cedar Rapids campaign office, his first outside Des Moines, on June 8.

Not counting that visit, the campaign says O'Rourke has attended 67 Iowa town halls and house parties since mid-March. He's driven nearly 2,700 miles, usually doing so himself, and taken 200-plus "questions from Iowans."

O'Rourke has seen once-promising polling numbers fall, increasing pressure to perform in Iowa.

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