EL PASO, Texas — Beto O’Rourke didn’t sound like someone giving a farewell speech after losing a Senate race in deep-red Texas by less than 3 points. If anything, the Democrat’s concession to Republican Ted Cruz was a signal that voters could be hearing a lot more from him.

The El Paso congressman shattered fundraising records while becoming a national sensation as he staged an ultimately unsuccessful challenge of the Republican incumbent. His energetic campaign fueled speculation for months that O’Rourke could use an upset win, or even a close loss, to launch a 2020 presidential bid.

O’Rourke insists he’s not interested in seeking any other political office for now and plans to return to his remote hometown of desert mountain vistas and mouthwatering tacos on the Texas-Mexico border.

Still, his concession speech Tuesday night made him sound like a political star who is still rising. He dropped a joyously defiant expletive on and promised to make “sure that whatever we have created … leads to something far greater than we have today and that all of us, every single one of us, continue to believe and make possible the greatness of the United States of America.”

“We will see you down the road,” he told thousands gathered at a minor league baseball stadium, drawing thunderous cheers and cries of “Beto! Beto! Beto!”

Republican strategist Joe Brettell said a losing Senate race isn’t typically a springboard for a presidential run, but that O’Rourke would be a natural fit for a position like Democratic National Committee chair.

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