GOP pollster: O'Rourke benefited from running against Cruz

Republican pollster Conor Maguire said on Monday that former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Harris to appear in CNN climate town hall after backlash Castro qualifies for next Democratic primary debates MORE (D-Texas) benefited from running against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters MORE (R-Texas) in the 2018 midterms, but said he hasn't been able to gain as much traction in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field. 

"The media loved him. He was exciting. Didn't necessarily have much to say, but in a place where he was at versus Ted Cruz, I think people chose sides pretty quickly because some people really had some problems with Ted Cruz," Maguire, senior strategist at WPA Intelligence, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking." "So that worked out very well."

"Now Beto's running for president, and he's really got to compete against the biggest hitters on the Democrat Party, and he doesn't really have as much to say, so it kind of fades out," he continued. 

"Despite all of the news coverage he got, there's nothing that really catches fire and clicks with him," he said. 

O'Rourke dominated headlines during the 2018 midterms and was seen as a formidable candidate against Cruz in historically Republican Texas. 

However, the former congressman has struggled to gain momentum in the 2020 race, trailing front-runners like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTop adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' 'Forever war' slogans short-circuit the scrutiny required of national security choices MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE (I-Vt.). 

A new Hill-HarrisX survey, released on Monday, found that only 3 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said O'Rourke should be the party's 2020 nominee. 

— Julia Manchester