Dining With Denise Neil

Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke makes a stop at a Wichita coffee house

Meet the Candidate: Beto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke is running a presidential campaign that emphasizes national unity over partisanship. He is aiming to tap into the energy that fueled his popular but ultimately failed 2018 Senate race against Ted Cruz.
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Beto O’Rourke is running a presidential campaign that emphasizes national unity over partisanship. He is aiming to tap into the energy that fueled his popular but ultimately failed 2018 Senate race against Ted Cruz.

A Democratic candidate for president stopped in a Wichita coffee house on Tuesday morning to meet with Wichita Hispanic leaders, and he was spotted and photographed by a few locals.

Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas and one of almost two dozen Democratic candidates vying for a spot on the 2020 presidential ballot, was on his way from Tulsa to Des Moines, where he will appear at a town hall meeting this evening.

Angelo Rodriguez, who owns R Coffee House at 1144 N. Bitting in Riverside, said O’Rourke stopped in the cafe at about 9 a.m. and enjoyed a coffee and a cinnamon roll while he talked to several locals.

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Kenzie Borland of Wichita posed for a picture with presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke when he stopped in Wichita Tuesday morning. Courtesy photo

City Council member Brandon Johnson contacted Rodriguez a few days ago, he said, asking if he could bring the candidate to the shop. Rodriguez said he was happy to oblige.

Johnson said O’Rourke’s campaign reached out to him and asked him to help facilitate a meeting with local immigrants, Hispanic leaders and others “about issues facing our country.”

“We chose R Coffee House because it was a business owned by a person of color and it was a priority for Beto’s campaign to support businesses of color,” Johnson said.

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Wichita City Councilman Brandon Johnson, fourth from left, and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, third from right, met with a group of Wichitans on Tuesday morning. Courtesy photo

He said the candidate stayed for about and hour and a half then hit the road. He posed for photos with several staff members and customers before he left.

“He was a super down to earth cool dude, super chill,” Rodriguez said. “I was pretty impressed with how poised he was.”

Contributing: Chance Swaim of the Wichita Eagle

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Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.
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