How long can O'Rourke wait as 2020 pace picks up around him?

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Beto O'Rourke barged into last year's Texas Senate race very early, in March 2017.

A Democratic congressman at the time, O'Rourke insisted he could beat the incumbent, Republican Ted Cruz, even though almost no one nationally knew of him.

Now, as the onetime punk rocker mulls a much-hyped White House bid for 2020, he's doing anything he can to keep attention on himself without actually getting in the race quite yet. O'Rourke isn't expected to decide until at least next month whether he'll run.

Some activists in Iowa and elsewhere are clamoring for him to get in. And some of his potential rivals are moving their timelines earlier.