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 CornynNadler gets under GOP's skin Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Democrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public 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 BidenSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE's, who notched 30 percent support in the Quinnipiac poll.

Still, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll Warren calls for Brazil to drop charges against Glenn Greenwald 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 CruzDemocrats sharpen case on second day of arguments What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters 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.