O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll

Outgoing Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBoebert appears to carry gun on Capitol Hill in new ad 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics Mexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized MORE (D-Texas) narrowly leads former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFear of insider attack prompts additional FBI screening of National Guard troops: AP Iran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries 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 SandersBiden tax-hike proposals face bumpy road ahead Senate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate 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.


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 TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT 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 CruzNewly released video from inside Capitol siege shows rioters confronting police, rifling through Senate desks Can we protect our country — from our rulers, and ourselves? Democratic super PAC targets Hawley, Cruz in new ad blitz 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 HarrisBiden-Harris team unveils inauguration playlist Trump approval rating relatively unchanged in wake of Capitol rioting: NBC News poll Harris to resign from Senate seat on Monday MORE (D-Calif.) — managed to get more than 10 percent support in the survey. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden to tap Rohit Chopra to lead CFPB, Gensler for SEC chair: reports Biden tax-hike proposals face bumpy road ahead Porter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector 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 ClintonRep. John Katko: Why I became the first Republican lawmaker to support impeachment Can we protect our country — from our rulers, and ourselves? For Joe Biden, an experienced foreign policy team 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.