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

Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE (I) are denying that there is a coordinated campaign among them to discredit Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate 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 CruzIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? GOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (R-Texas) in traditionally red Texas.

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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.