Democrat 2020 hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke drew a lackluster turnout at a Sunday afternoon campaign rally in Iowa.
Around 120 people failed to fill even half a room at the University of Iowa for O’Rourke, according to the Washington Examiner. Attendees in the UI student union ballroom told the outlet that they expected more people in a large city of 75,000, and fellow contender for the Democrat presidential nomination Bernie Sanders has drawn more than double the crowd size of O’Rourke’s at similar events.
O’Rourke delayed the event 30 minutes, according to the report. After the rally he conceded that he has seen a decrease in the number of reporters at events since his March 14 campaign launch. O’Rourke generated buzz during his failed 2018 challenge to Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.
The crowd included a teen who told the Examiner he was attending for extra credit at school and another teen who saw O’Rourke as inferior competition to his preferred candidate Andrew Yang. Other attendees indicated they were sizing up a variety of candidates.
Iowa will hold the first in the nation contest to weigh in on nominees for the Republican and Democrat presidential nominations. Iowa caucuses are scheduled for February 3, 2020.
O’Rourke has also faced fundraising numbers that have been overshadowed by other 2020 contenders like Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris of California.