U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders brought his strategy of trying to reenergize the Democratic Party by lending his star power to lower-level races to a small city just outside Boston on Monday, with a stop to endorse candidates for alderman and city council.
Sanders, an independent who ran for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2016 presidential election, announced his support for a dozen candidates backed by “Our Revolution” a group formed by supporters of Sanders’ campaign to boost progressive, liberal candidates.
It is unusual for a politician with Sanders’ profile to weigh in on races with no serious Republican contenders, political observers said.
“The local level, more than any other level, is a way to involve people in the political process,” Sanders said in Somerville, Massachusetts, a city of 80,000 people.
Sanders may not need to tip too many voters to influence the typically low-turnout city races. In the 2013 ward races, just two candidates secured more than 1,000 votes and the four closest races were decided by an average of 166 votes.
“It’s definitely a draw and I think it’s important that he is supporting local candidates,” said Ellora Derenoncourt, a 30-year-old graduate student who was out to show her support for alderman candidate J.T. Scott, a gym owner in his first race.
The event did attract some undecided voters who said Sanders’ endorsement would sway their picks among fields of Democratic candidates.
“Our country has moved so far to their right since the mid-90s that just being a Democrat doesn’t necessarily qualify you as a liberal or progressive,” said Pamela Massey, 59 of Cambridge.
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