Sanders congratulates progressive candidates on primary wins

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersPoll: Gillum leads DeSantis by 5 points in Florida governor race Sanders: Kavanaugh accusers 'have risked their lives to come forward' Helping citizens unite in post-Citizens United America MORE (I-Vt.) on Tuesday issued a statement congratulating two progressive candidates on their primary wins.

Sanders endorsed Ben Jealous in the Democratic primary for Maryland governor. Jealous, a former NAACP president, won Tuesday and will take on Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in November.

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“Ben showed that running a progressive, issue-oriented campaign can bring all working people together in the fight for justice,” Sanders said in the statement. “That's what Ben has done in the primary and that is what a united Democratic Party will do in the general election.”

“What the people of Maryland understand is that we can most effectively oppose Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE's extremism with strong progressive leadership at the state and local level — and there are few progressives stronger than Ben,” he added.

Sanders also congratulated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Sanders’s presidential campaign, on her shocking primary victory against Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.).

“She took on the entire local Democratic establishment in her district and won a very strong victory,” Sanders said of Ocasio-Cortez. “She demonstrated once again what progressive grassroots politics can do."

Ocasio-Cortez’s win is expected to shake up politics in New York and Washington. The 28-year-old democratic socialist and first-time candidate upset Crowley, who has not faced a primary challenger in 14 years and was viewed as a potential House Speaker.