Beto O'Rourke is the most popular Democrat among progressives at this very early stage to take on Donald Trump in 2020, according to a new MoveOn 2020 straw poll out Tuesday. The telegenic Texas representative, who lost his bid in November to unseat incumbent GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, barely edged out former Vice President Joe Biden, 15.6 percent to 15 percent. Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders came in third with 13.2 percent. Sanders overwhelmingly received MoveOn's endorsement for the presidency in 2016. In 2008, Barack Obama won the group's nod.
California Sen. Kamala Harris was the top woman in the poll, with 10 percent, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren attracted 6.4 percent support. However, reflecting that it's still quite early to be talking about 2020, "someone else / don't know" actually received the most votes in the straw poll, with 17.9 percent.
O'Rourke reportedly met with former President Obama in November amid speculation he is mulling a 2020 bid. Although O'Rourke told CBS News' "60 Minutes" before Election Day that, win or lose, he would not run for office in 2020, he walked back that pledge and did not rule out a future bid.
There are a number of Democratic operatives and donors who have been encouraging O'Rourke to launch a presidential campaign and challenge President Trump in 2020. One Texas Democratic bundler told Politico last month, "I can tell you that there has not been this kind of level of electric excitement about a candidate since" Obama ran in 2008.
Besides Biden and Sanders, Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker could also be considering a run for the White House.