Sanders to barnstorm across 8 states before Election Day
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is eyeing a potential run for president in 2024, has announced an eight-state campaign blitz across the country to rev up younger voters at a time when polls have turned sour for Democratic candidates.
Sanders, who has urged Democrats to focus more on economic issues at a time when many voters think the economy is on the wrong track, will start his trip on Oct. 27 with an event in Eugene, Ore., with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Democrat Val Hoyle, who is running in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District.
He will hit four Senate battlegrounds on his trip: Nevada, Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where he will talk about rising inequality and the need to expand Medicare, a top policy priority for him that didn’t get much attention from Democratic leaders in the 117th Congress.
“He’s going to be hustling to get out the vote all over the country, coast to coast,” said Faiz Shakir, a Sanders adviser.
“We’re going to frame the argument that we’re letting the Republicans off the hook on a terrible agenda for the working class. They, Republicans, have largely been on the offensive on decrying student loan debt relief, minimum wage increases, child tax credits, stimulus as somehow bad for working people, and that just can’t stand,” Shakir said.
“We’ve got to go out there and make the contrast,” he added.
Sanders recently said that while it’s good to draw a contrast between Democrats and Republicans on abortion rights, he thinks Democrats are putting too much emphasis on that issue at the expense of attacking Republican economic policies.
“In my view, while the abortion issue must remain on the front burner, it would be political malpractice for Democrats to ignore the state of the economy and allow Republican lies and distortions to go unanswered,” Sanders wrote in a recent op-ed for The Guardian.
The Vermont senator has also raised concerns about whether young voters, who tend to support Democrats, are motivated to cast early ballots or go to the polls on Election Day.
“It is about energizing our base and increasing voter turnout up and down the ballot,” Sanders told The New York Times. “I am a little bit concerned that the energy level for young people, working-class people,” is not as high as it should be.
Sanders will also head to Los Angeles to campaign with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who is running for mayor, before heading to the Senate battleground of Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) is trailing in the polls behind former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R).
Sanders will attend events with MoveOn, the progressive advocacy group, in Reno and Las Vegas.
Then it’s off to Texas, where Sanders will join campaign events with Greg Casar (D), who is running in Texas’s 35th Congressional District, which stretches from East Austin to San Antonio.
On Oct. 30, Sanders will hold an event in McAllen, Texas, with Michelle Vallejo (D), who is running against conservative Republican Monica De La Cruz in Texas’s 15th Congressional District, before flying to Orlando, Fla., for an event with Maxwell Frost (D), who is running in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.
Sanders will then hit Wisconsin, where Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) is challenging Sen. Ron Johnson (R).
Sanders will participate in get-out-the-vote events with NextGen and MoveOn in Eau Claire, La Crosse and Madison, Wis., on Nov. 4.
He will hold a community event in Oshkosh, Wis., on Nov. 5 and then travel to Michigan, where Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is running for reelection and has a 5-point lead over Republican Tudor Dixon in one recent poll. Sanders will do a get-out-the-vote event with NextGen and MoveOn in Ann Arbor.
Sanders will wrap up his trip in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is locked in a tough race with celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz (R) for retiring Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) seat.
Sanders will hold an event in Pittsburgh on Nov. 6 with Summer Lee (D), who is running in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.
He will also attend get-out-the-vote events in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with MoveOn on Nov. 6.