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

Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Meghan McCain: Bernie Sanders supporting prisoners being able to vote 'bats**t insane' MORE (I) are denying that there is a coordinated campaign among them to discredit Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeOvernight Defense: 2020 Dems rebuke Trump on Iran deal | Trump appeals ruling on male-only draft | Kudlow claims Iran sanctions won't hike oil prices Castro wants to follow Obama's lead on balancing presidency with fatherhood Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds 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 CruzCornyn campaign, Patton Oswalt trade jabs over comedian's support for Senate candidate MJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Liberal survey: Sanders cruising, Buttigieg rising 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.