Beto O'Rourke
Beto O’Rourke became a household name during his unsuccessful run for Senate last year. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Beto O’Rourke has to keep finding new ways to tell people he isn’t running for Senate.

On Thursday night it was MSNBC and The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.

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“You know the question’s going to keep coming up,” O’Donnell told the former Texas congressman, “this question of what about dropping out of this presidential race and taking up the race for the Senate.”

O’Rourke has never expressed any interest in running for Senate this year, after his near-miss loss to Ted Cruz in 2018. And it was only hours earlier, in a speech in his home town of El Paso, Texas, that O’Rourke rejected the suggestion, saying, “That would not be good enough for this community. That would not be good enough for El Paso. That would not be good enough for this country.”

But politicians are not immune to changing their minds. O’Rourke himself had said last year that he would not run for president, after all. And such are the calls from some Democrats — and, over the weekend, the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board — for O’Rourke to switch contests that he keeps getting the question.

He told O’Donnell, “I’m running for president, and I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump.”

It wasn’t enough. O’Donnell pressed, asking O’Rourke if he had Dec. 9 marked on his calendar. “December 9th, I believe, is the last day you can file in the Senate Democratic primary in Texas,” O’Donnell said.

O’Rourke started laughing.

“No,” O’Rourke said. “Let me make your show the place where I tell you and I tell the country I will not in any scenario run for the United States Senate. I’m running for president. I’m running for this country. I’m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump, and that is what I am exclusively focused on doing right now.”

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