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Bernie Sanders tells Kansas crowd: This 'sure doesn’t look' like a GOP state

Bernie Sanders tells Kansas crowd: This 'sure doesn’t look' like a GOP state
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP MORE (I-Vt.) rallied a Kansas crowd on Friday alongside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the surprise victor of last month's New York congressional primary against Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.).

Sanders told the raucous crowd of supporters in Wichita that Kansas "doesn't look" like a red state to him, noting the popularity of the two self-described democratic socialists in the area.

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“People told me Kansas was a Republican state. It sure doesn’t look that way," Sanders said to cheers, according to The Associated Press.

“Whether you live in Vermont or the Bronx or Kansas, you are outraged by a situation in which three people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America,” he continued.

The two rallied in Wichita in support of Democrat James Thompson, who like Ocasio-Cortez worked for Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign and is running in Kansas's 4th District against Rep. Ron EstesRonald (Ron) Gene EstesCards Against Humanity offering midterm expansion pack in effort to back Dems in key races Worst-case scenario for House GOP is 70-seat wipeout Election Countdown: Takeaways from too-close-to-call Ohio special election | Trump endorsements cement power but come with risks | GOP leader's race now rated as 'toss-up' | Record numbers of women nominated | Latino candidates get prominent role in 2020 MORE (R).

Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old political upstart who has enjoyed rising popularity in the Democratic Party after defeating Crowley in a primary by double digits, spoke of Kansas's historic decision to enter the union as a free state rather than embracing slavery.

“That is the crucible and soul of this state,” she told the crowd. “Back then, the people of Kansas were the tipping point for the future of this nation and today they are again.”

The district leans Republican, and Estes won a special election to represent the district last year by 6 points.

Thompson must first face Laura Lombard, who ran unsuccessfully against Estes last year, in a primary in August before he can challenge Estes in November.