Beto O’Rourke Leads Democratic Presidential Field In Very Early Straw Poll

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In the first presidential straw poll released for the 2020 Democratic primary race, Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke is the leader with 15.6 percent, followed by former Vice President Joseph Biden with 14.9 percent. This is according to a poll by the progressive group MoveOn.org, and the poll was obtained and reported on by NBC News.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came in third in the poll with 13.1 percent, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris of California (10 percent) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (6.4 percent). Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Cory Booker of New Jersey came in next, each with under 3 percent of the poll, as did former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York.

Not included in the poll were such potential candidates as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia. Also omitted are the officially declared candidates: Rep. John Delaney of Maryland and former congressional candidate Richard Ojeda of West Virginia.

Other rumored candidates have ruled out a running, including former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and attorney Michael Avenatti.

Sanders was overwhelmingly endorsed by MoveOn in his 2016 primary fight against Hillary Clinton.

There are quite a few caveats to the MoveOn poll. One, it’s extremely early. Two, none of these people have even announced their candidacies for president yet. MoveOn.org represents the progressive wing of the party and not the party at large, and the poll doesn’t appear to have been scientific.

And finally, 29 percent of respondents “either said they did not yet know whom they would support or wanted someone else not listed among the group’s more than 30 potential candidate choices,” NBC said. That’s more than voted for any particular candidate.

O’Rourke lost his U.S. Senate race in Texas last month to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, himself a former presidential candidate. But O’Rourke gave Cruz a much closer race than expected in a red state and excited Democratic voters to the point where he is said to be exploring a candidacy for president.

The 2020 Iowa caucuses are set for February 3, 2020. Expect more candidate declarations after the new year, followed by a whole lot of visits by the candidates to Iowa, New Hampshire, and early primary states. The first primary debate of the 2016 cycle took place in October of 2015, but the larger field the debates may start earlier.