Beto O'Rourke, presidential candidate, holds a town hall meeting at Gentle Ben's Brewing on October 6, 2019.

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

Been bogged down by the incessant impeachment inquiry, or just trying to focus on local elections this year? Wouldn’t you like some sort of escape?

How does a refresher of what all those crazy Democratic candidates for president are up to sound? Here’s our round-up of some of the biggest and weirdest stories you might have missed about the (nearly) 100 candidates running for office.

Don’t Beto on it

Tucson got its first visit from one of the seemingly endless supply of Democratic candidates for president when Beto O’Rourke stopped by UA-area eatery Gentle Ben’s for a town hall event on Sunday.

O’Rourke has made some headway nationally since his Sept. 12 debate performance when, in response to a question concerning AR-15s and AK-47s, he announced that if elected, he would hold mandatory gun buybacks.

“Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said. “We are not going to allow it to be used against fellow Americans anymore.”

The answer generated plenty of response, both in support and criticism, some of which was on display at Sunday’s rally.

Meanwhile, while currently polling at just over 2% nationally according to poll of polls, Beto has moved up the ranks, but not near enough to catapult himself into the “serious contenders” category currently occupied by Sanders, Warren and Biden.

With that fact in mind a year from the general election and about five months from the first Democratic primary, it’s time for Beto to get serious about his chances: Drop out and start campaigning for John Cornyn’s Senate seat.

Yes, the O’Rourke campaign has rejected the idea of another Senate run in the past, with O’Rourke himself saying he “will not in any scenario,” run for Senate back in August.

But going into mid-October with his campaign struggling to meet the debate qualification guidelines for the next debate, O’Rourke’s political calculus has changed — or it should.

I’m on Ron Burgundy’s podcast?

Few movie characters are as side-splittingly funny as Will Farrell’s Ron Burgundy. The noted newscaster and star of the “Anchorman” films, Burgundy has a podcast.

To kick-off his second season in August, Burgundy invited former California Attorney General and Democratic candidate for president Kamala Harris to talk about her time as AG and what the experience of running for president is like.

As Burgundy, Farrell is a riot, introducing Harris’ as a onetime member of Motley Crue and at one point confusing her former title as AG as a rank in one of the branches of the military. After gently explaining that an AG is an elected, civilian position, Burgundy has a eureka-like moment.

Harris, sometimes knocked for her attorney-like, cold demeaner, plays along the whole time, never coming off as a party-pooper or trying to be too staid, while at the same time delivering her talking points on serious issues like criminal justice reform.

“This is what I love about this podcast,” he said. “I learn as much as the audience does. Sometimes more.”

Opinion Writer

Edward graduated from the University of Arizona and started at the Star in 2019. He was born in Tucson, but grew up in Casa Grande and Chandler. Previously, he was a reporter and editor for Pima Community College's Aztec Press, and the UA's Daily Wildcat.