Sanders supporters deny coordinated attacks on O'Rourke's progressive credentials

Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: LIVE: Trump from Gettysburg | The many unknowns of 2020 | Omar among those facing primary challenges Trump's personality is as much a problem as his performance Sierra Club endorses Biden for president  MORE (I) are denying that there is a coordinated campaign among them to discredit 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) ahead of a potential presidential primary battle between the two, according to NBC News.

NBC News reported increasing examples of Sanders supporters criticizing O'Rourke, who ran a tight race this year against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead MORE (R-Texas) in traditionally red Texas.

ADVERTISEMENT

But with O'Rourke now considering a presidential run, Norman Solomon, who was a delegate for Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, told NBC News that Americans are seeing "underneath the superficial gloss of projections onto Beto."

"I think this week can be understood as a kind of turning point, where — for the first time really — millions of Americans are seeing pieces that look underneath the superficial gloss of projections onto Beto," Solomon said. 

"What we’re seeing is someone who’s a big step up for red-state Texas statewide and actually a big step down for where the majority of Democrats are nationwide. ... If we buy the Beto package, we’re gonna have buyer’s remorse later on," Solomon added.

David Sirota, a journalist who previously worked for Sanders, wrote in a tweet this month that only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had received more campaign donations from the oil and gas industry than O'Rourke during the 2018 cycle, NBC noted.

NBC pointed out that the tweet failed to recognize that O'Rourke refused donations from corporate PACs.

Polls have shown O'Rourke and Sanders among the top contenders in a potential 2020 Democratic presidential primary, although neither has committed to running.

But Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for former President Obama, told NBC News that he doesn't think "there's much appetite among Democratic voters to relive some of the dumb Twitter fights that we saw in the 2016 primary."

"There are plenty of progressives who might run — from Beto and Bernie to [Sen.] Kamala [Harris] and [Sen. Cory] Booker and others — and I think it’s more productive to focus our time and energy talking about why we support the candidates who inspire us," he added.