AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Latest on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke (all times local):

8:45 a.m.

Beto O'Rourke has begun campaigning in his 2020 presidential bid with his first trip to Iowa.

The former Texas congressman announced his White House run Thursday morning and stopped later in a coffeeshop in Keokuk (KEE'-uh-kuhk), Iowa. He promised to offer the kind of bipartisan, optimistic vision for the future that helped him nearly upset Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in deeply red Texas last November.

O'Rourke told the Iowa crowd: "I could care less about your party persuasion, your religion, anything other than the fact that, right now, we are all Americans."

His comments were carried live on several cable television networks, something other Democrats in the already crowded White House field haven't had.

O'Rourke has three days of campaign events in Iowa planned and has promised to travel the country listening to would-be voters.

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5 a.m.

Former congressman Beto O'Rourke is running for president.

The 46-year-old announced his 2020 Democratic primary bid Thursday with an online post. After months of teasing a bid, he's finally, formally hoping to turn buzz from a close loss in Texas' 2018 Senate race into a White House try.

O'Rourke nearly upset Sen. Ted Cruz. Since then, his blend of Kennedy-esque looks, easygoing charisma and bipartisan optimism has helped his national political star burn brighter.

Democrats have long dreamed that a booming Hispanic population could eventually flip Texas blue and transform the electoral college, making the Republican path to the presidency all but impossible.

O'Rourke's home-state appeal may not prove to be enough to make Texas competitive, however, as the Democrats try to deny President Donald Trump a second term.

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