Sanders: Dems didn't do enough in Kansas special election

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats hope to hold Big Oil 'accountable' On The Money — Will the billionaire tax survive Joe Manchin? Democrats cutting paid leave from spending deal amid Manchin opposition MORE (I-Vt.) said Sunday that Democrats should’ve done more to support the party’s candidate, James Thompson, during the special House election in Kansas last week.

"It is true that the Democratic Party should have put more resources into that election," Sanders told host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union.” "But it is also true that he ran 20 points better than the Democratic candidate for president did in Kansas."

State Treasurer Ron Estes beat the Sanders-backed candidate by just 6 percentage points in a heavily Republican district.

Estes and Thompson were fighting for former Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R) seat after President Trump tapped him to become the director of the CIA. Pompeo had won reelection by over 30 percentage points.


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and progressive strategists have come under fire for not doing more to help Thompson win, while Trump and other top Republicans such as Vice President Pence and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFlake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it MORE (R-Texas) voiced support for Estes. 

Sanders said he plans to fight for the Democratic party in its upcoming elections, citing his plans to join Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on a cross-country tour to nine primarily red states with seats up for reelection.  

"So many of our people are giving up on the political process. It is very frightening. In the last presidential election, when Trump won, we had the lowest voter turnout over — in 20 years. And in the previous two years before that, in the midterm election, we had the lowest voter turnout in 70 years," Sanders continued. "We're going to be fighting to see that the Democratic Party becomes a 50-state party. You can't just be a West Coast party and an East Coast party.” 

Sanders expressed hope that Democrats would also rally support for Jon Ossoff, a former congressional aide, during a special election in Georgia’s 6th District on Tuesday, as well as an upcoming special election in Montana late next month.

"So, what you're seeing in Kansas, what you're seeing in Georgia, I believe you're going to see it in Montana, I believe you're going to see it all over this country, is the many so-called red states, working people are going to wake up and say, wait a second," Sanders said. "Republicans want to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education, and they want to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 1 percent. No, that's not what we elected Trump to do."