Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX) topped former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in an early presidential straw poll conducted by progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org, NBC News reported Tuesday.
15.6 percent of participants reportedly selected O’Rourke, while 14.9 percent chose Biden. Sanders, who MoveOn supported over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democrat presidential primary, garnered 13.1 percent of the poll vote.
According to the poll, 29 percent of respondents stated they were undecided as to who they will support or desired someone outside the 30-plus possible candidates listed.
The three men were followed by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who garnered 10 percent support, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 6.4 percent. Meanwhile, Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were each selected by about 3 percent of members.
MoveOn, which was founded during Bill Clinton’s presidency, is one of the largest progressive online organizing groups with millions of members across the country, so its endorsement has been coveted in the past.
This year, the group plans to hold a series of events in early presidential nominating states as part of its endorsement process, which is ultimately decided by a vote of its members.
“While the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president remains wide open and MoveOn’s endorsement is up for grabs, MoveOn members and progressives across the country are clear: They’re looking for candidates who will rally voters around a progressive vision of building a country where every American can thrive — whether we’re white, black, or brown, rich or poor,” MoveOn Political Action executive director Ilya Sheyman said in a statement to NBC. “We’ll be challenging prospective candidates to inspire us with big ideas in the months to come — including at a series of events in early voting states in early 2019.”
O’Rourke, a three-term congressman who Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) defeated in the 2018 midterm election, won’t rule out a run for the White House as buzz surrounding a potential bid continues to build. Last month, O’Rourke reportedly sat down with former President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. for what observers believe was a discussion about a possible 2020 run. The progressive congressman’s Chief of Staff, David Wysong, is said to be in talks with political operatives who assisted Obama’s presidential campaigns in pivotal primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.
BuzzFeed News reported Monday that O’Rourke spoke with left-wing civil rights activist Al Sharpton on Friday and the pair plan to meet in the coming weeks.