GOP pollster: O'Rourke benefited from running against Cruz

Republican pollster Conor Maguire said on Monday that former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeDemocratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Democratic presidential hopefuls react to debate placement Teachers union to host 2020 Democratic presidential forum focused on education MORE (D-Texas) benefited from running against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Ted Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists Overnight Health Care: Democratic bill would require insurance to cover OTC birth control | House Dems vote to overturn ban on fetal tissue research | New rule aims to expand health choices for small businesses 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 Biden22 presidential candidates to attend Clyburn's South Carolina fish fry 22 presidential candidates to attend Clyburn's South Carolina fish fry Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Kamala Harris rallies with McDonald's workers striking for higher wages Playing fast and loose with the economic facts 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