SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A line was wrapped around multiple corners outside the San Francisco United Irish Cultural Center ahead of Beto O'Rourke's town hall on Sunday.
O'Rourke began his California tour in Los Angeles on Saturday. According to O'Rourke, he's running a "grassroots" campaign with no help from special interests, lobbyists, or PACs.
"We live in a country where tens of millions cannot see a doctor, afford medication, or take their child to a therapist so that she's well enough to learn in school," O'Rourke said during the town hall.
Sunday, O'Rourke touched on the big issues like immigration reform, healthcare, and his explosive Texas senate race. His campaign success was initially believed to be a long-shot. However, he set a record for the most votes cast for a Democrat in Texas history. O'Rourke plans to bring that same energy to the national stage.
"We need a new voting rights act so that everyone's vote counts in this country," O'Rourke said.
The presidential hopeful took several questions from the San Francisco crowd in English and Spanish.
Chris Johnigan, a Hayward resident, asked O'Rourke about holding law enforcement accountable.
"Coming in to this event today, I wasn't super impressed with him, but his answer was definitely more specific than I was expecting," Johnigan said. "So, I was pretty impressed."
"I just love what he says about immigration and how welcoming he is to every person," Jackie Paisal, a San Francisco resident, said.
"It's unclear to me out of this field of 20 if he's going to have the gravitas to be relevant in the overall campaign, but he's certainly an impressive speaker," David Stadlin, a Tiburon resident, said.
"I definitely think Beto has an uphill climb in California. We have two home state candidates in the race already," Melinda Jackson, chair of the political science department at San Jose State University, said.
I think there was a lot of excitement among Democrats to see how close Beto O'Rourke came to beating Ted Cruz, who's kind of another favorite punching bag for the democrats. But, I think for all of the candidates right now, it's really about building their name recognition and support in the polls.
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