O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll

Outgoing Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBeto O'Rourke calls Texas GOP 'a death cult' over coronavirus response Hegar, West to face off in bitter Texas Senate runoff Bellwether counties show trouble for Trump MORE (D-Texas) narrowly leads former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report 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 SandersOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic 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 John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test 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 CruzTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal 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 HarrisBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Harris, Ocasio-Cortez push climate equity bill with Green New Deal roots Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Calif.) — managed to get more than 10 percent support in the survey. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package 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 ClintonTrump touts economic agenda in battleground Ohio The Memo: Campaigns gird for rush of early voting Trump's pitch to Maine lobstermen falls flat 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.