Texas Dem voters would rather see O'Rourke run for Cornyn's Senate seat than 2020 presidency

Texas Dem voters would rather see O'Rourke run for Cornyn's Senate seat than 2020 presidency
© Greg Nash

Most Democratic voters in Texas would rather see former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) challenge John CornynJohn CornynThis week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive This week: Democrats move funding bills as caps deal remains elusive Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' MORE for his Senate seat in 2020 than continue his run for the White House, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Sixty percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters said the former Texas congressman should abandon his presidential ambitions for 2020 and pursue Cornyn’s Senate seat instead.

Less than half as many respondents — 27 percent — said he should continue his run for the White House, the poll found.

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O’Rourke also placed second among the slate of candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination, taking 16 percent support of those polled. The figure is roughly half as much as that of frontrunner and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE's, who notched 30 percent support in the Quinnipiac poll.

Still, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' Trump hits polling on Fox News: 'Something weird going on at Fox' 2020 Democrats look to cut into Biden's lead with black voters MORE (I-Vt.) trails O’Rourke in the poll by only 1 point, well within the poll’s 5.8 percent margin of error for Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.

O’Rourke gained national prominence last year during his closely watched, though unsuccessful, bid to oust Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Overnight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Biden says he will beat Trump in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina MORE (R-Texas). The close race ultimately prompted speculation over whether O'Rourke would jump into the presidential race or mount a second Senate bid in 2020 against Cornyn, who is up for re-election.

O’Rourke announced in March that he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination, quashing hopes of a Senate campaign. So far, a handful of Democrats have jumped into the race to challenge Cornyn, including M.J. Hegar, a retired Air Force major and former House candidate.

But O’Rourke’s campaign has struggled to gain the same kind of traction that his 2018 Senate bid did, lingering in the low single digits in recent national polls.

In recent weeks, he has appeared more frequently on national television and has rolled out a handful of policy proposals, as he looks to regain momentum in the primary contest.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from May 29-June 4, among 1,159 Texas voters and includes surveys of 407 Democratic and Democratic leaning voters in the state.