2016 Presidential Campaign

Bernie Sanders Reaches Down Ballot To Expand His Political Revolution

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds a campaign rally in San Diego, California March 22, 2016.      REUTERS/Mike Blake
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds a campaign rally in San Diego, California March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has raised an unprecedented amount of money from small donors for his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, he is using that massive list to help raise money for down-ballot Democrats that would be allies in Congress.

On Wednesday, the Sanders campaign sent out fundraising emails to its list on behalf of Nevada 4th district candidate Lucy Flores, Washington 7th district candidate Pramila Jayapal and New York 19th district candidate Zephyr Teachout. Flores is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy, Teachout is running for an open seat vacated by Republicans, and Jayapal is running for an open seat in a safe Democratic district. All three have endorsed Sanders’ presidential campaign.

The fundraising emails for the three candidates are a first test of Sanders’ ability to increase the political power of progressives who overlap with his policy vision for the country. Whether or not he becomes the Democratic Party presidential nominee, he will retain a huge amount of power to build this wing of the party through his wide base of support of both voters and small donors.

“Bernie Sanders is doing the kind of coalition building and progressive power building that we’ve really wanted to see from a Democratic presidential candidate,” said Neil Sroka, communications director for the progressive group Democracy for America.