Sen. Bernie Sanders brought his second bid for president to the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday as his campaign attempts to again win over voters in a state Sanders is considering one of the nation’s key battlegrounds in 2020.
A thick crush of supporters followed Sanders, I-Vt., between radio and television interviews at local media booths, chanting his name and cheering as the senator at one point ducked into an arcade to shoot hoops.
Sanders’ progressive populist platform attracted uproarious applause at several stops across the fairgrounds. But in an interview earlier with the Star Tribune, he said “we’re taking nothing for granted” ahead of the state’s March 3 Super Tuesday primary, which is likely to include a vastly expanded field of candidates since his commanding 2016 win in the state.
“Different race, different year, different world,” Sanders said.
Included in the newly expanded field is Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has been mired in the single digits in most polls but remains popular in her home state. Sanders called Klobuchar, who entered the Senate with Sanders in 2006, a “personal friend” and described their platforms as “issue-oriented campaigns” that will resonate with working families.
Martha Renville, 66, and her daughter, Allison Renville, 35, made the 3½-hour drive from Sisseton, S.D., to watch Sanders speak on Saturday. The Renvilles are part of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, and Allison has helped organize for Sanders for several years.
“I think it’s really important that he has had the ability to amplify voices that hadn’t necessarily had even a seat at the table,” said Allison Renville, who welcomed Sanders to a visit with tribal leaders in South Dakota last week.
As Sanders exited the Playland arcade after a quick round of basketball, Sophia Valentino waved a copy of his book, prompting the senator to pause and scrawl an autograph on the cover. Moments later, Valentino bounced in excitement as she ran to show her husband, Noah.
Sophia Valentino, 31, of Minneapolis, is a green-card holder from China who is unable to vote but who said she still backs Sanders “because the way he speaks about immigration reform really touches my heart.”
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