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Democratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire'

Democratic strategist Daria Dawson on Monday cautioned Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.) to be careful about how he goes about differentiating himself from progressive 2020 rival Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDebate over ICBMs: Will 'defund our defenses' be next? Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' MORE (D-Mass.).

Dawson said that while the Sanders’s campaign has no choice but to start seeking distance from Warren given her recent rise in the polls, she warned that such a move “may also backfire.”

"The stakes are higher for them, his health is [in question]," Dawson told Hill.TV, referring to Sanders's heart attack earlier this month. 

"It may be smart, but it may also backfire," she added. 

Dawson’s comments come after Sanders held a massive rally in Queens, New York, over the weekend that marked his official return to the campaign trail following his health scare.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBattle lines drawn over Biden's support for vaccine waivers Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations The Memo: The GOP's war is already over — Trump won MORE (D-N.Y.), a progressive star on the left, officially threw her support behind Sanders at the rally, while also crediting him for inspiring her own run for office in 2018.

Several top campaign officials spoke at the rally, including co-chairwoman Nina Turner, who sought to highlight key differences between Sanders and Warren, though she didn’t mention the Massachusetts senator by name.

“There was only one person who stood up to the establishment and his name is Bernie Sanders,” Turner said to cheers from the crowd. “There are many copies but there is only one original.”

Republican strategist Holly Turner praised Turner’s comments, calling the strategy “smart.”

“It wasn’t him saying all of those things,” Turner said. “He’s got a surrogate out there saying it and it makes a big difference in voters' minds.”

Sanders has increasingly sought distance between himself from Warren. Leading up to last week's primary debate in Ohio, Sanders told ABC’s Jon Karl that the main difference between him and Warren is her support of capitalism.

"There are differences between Elizabeth and myself," Sanders said. "Elizabeth, I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I’m not.”

⁠—Tess Bonn