O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll

Outgoing Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtiegieg backs NFL players' right to protest during anthem: I 'put my life on the line to defend' that Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan CNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC MORE (D-Texas) narrowly leads former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Castro swears off donations from oil, gas, coal executives Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' MORE as a potential 2020 contender among members of the progressive group MoveOn.org. 

A straw poll released by the group on Tuesday put O'Rourke ahead of Biden by little more than half a percentage point — 15.6 percent to 14.95 percent. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats join striking McDonald's workers Billionaire's M gift to Morehouse grads points way to student debt solution Poll: Nearly half of Clinton's former supporters back Biden MORE (I-Vt.) comes in after that at 13.15 percent.

A plurality of members surveyed — 17.89 percent — said they either didn't know who they would choose in 2020 or that they preferred "someone else," the survey found.

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The straw poll results listed 33 potential Democratic hopefuls, although one of the would-be candidates on the survey, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, has said he will not seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020. 

The results bolster O'Rourke's growing clout in the field of would-be Democratic challengers to President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE, especially among progressive and liberal voters, who are seen as crucial to winning the party's nomination. 

The soon-to-be-former Texas representative emerged as a sort of rock star in Democratic politics this year as he mounted a high-profile — though ultimately unsuccessful — Senate bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Senate GOP votes to permanently ban earmarks Jim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz MORE (R-Texas). 

While he threw cold water on the possibility of a White House run earlier this year, O'Rourke has since opened the door to a bid, saying late last month that he and his wife would not "rule anything out."

While O'Rourke narrowly leads the field of potential Democratic contenders listed in the straw poll, MoveOn's members appear to be splintered in their support.

Only four possible candidates — O'Rourke, Biden, Sanders and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCastro swears off donations from oil, gas, coal executives Harris leads California Democrats in condemning HUD immigrant housing policy Billionaire's M gift to Morehouse grads points way to student debt solution MORE (D-Calif.) — managed to get more than 10 percent support in the survey. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-Mass.), who is already building up her operation for a potential 2020 bid, came in fifth place, after Harris, with 6.42 percent support.

MoveOn endorsed Sanders in 2016 after he garnered the support of 78 percent of voters in the group's straw poll to beat out Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Poll: Nearly half of Clinton's former supporters back Biden Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE, the eventual Democratic nominee.

But unlike in 2016, the Democratic field is expected to be far more crowded this year, with around three dozen potential candidates rumored to be weighing presidential bids.

MoveOn isn't yet endorsing a potential presidential candidate. That won't come until later, when the group holds a formal vote by its members, the group said in an email. 

MoveOn's latest straw poll offered some clues about what progressive voters may be looking for in their next presidential candidate.

More than 63 percent of respondents said they want candidates "who inspire the public with deep progressive values and will move us toward a more progressive future where everyone can thrive," the group said. 

Another 54 percent said they are looking for candidates "who make the connections between racial, social, and economic injustice and commit to platform positions to see these connections through," according to MoveOn.