Beto O'Rourke Position Changes

[Editor's Note: On Friday, Nov. 2, 2019, Beto O'Rourke suspended his campaign for president. In a statement published on, titled "Thank You.," O'Rourke stated, "Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully. My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country."]

We are not suggesting that position changes are good or bad. We understand they are important to voters, which is why we have included them. We list the current position as Now X (Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con) and the former position as Formerly Y (Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con).
Now Con

"Q: As president, would you suspend capital punishment at the federal level?

O'Rourke: I would. It's not an equitable, fair, just system right now. The guarantees and safeguards against wrongful prosecution, the disproportionate number of people of color who comprise our criminal justice system. And on moral grounds, I oppose the death penalty."
Source: O. Kay Henderson, "Beto O'Rourke Kicks off 2020 Presidential Race in Keokuk,", Mar. 14, 2019

Formerly Pro

On May 18, 2017, O'Rourke voted in favor of HR 115 (Thin Blue Line Act), which made killing or targeting a law enforcement officer a crime eligible for the death penalty.
Source: "H.R.115 - Thin Blue Line Act," (accessed Sep. 5, 2019)

[Editor's Note: On Mar. 15, 2019, O'Rourke told Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic, "That was a poor decision on my part. I've never supported the death penalty. I think attacking a police officer should be an aggravating factor, but I don't think that should contribute to taking someone else's life. And so that was a mistake on my part, and if I could have that vote again, I would not vote for it," as quoted in a Mar. 20, 2019 article by Daniel Marans titled "Beto O'Rourke Supported the Death Penalty as Recently as 2 Years Ago," available at]
Back to present position