Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will hit the trail for the first time with his former organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, campaigning well beyond the House candidate’s New York congressional district.
Ocasio-Cortez, 28, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, ran to the left of House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in last month’s primary and defeated the 10-term incumbent.
Crowley, the chairman of the Queens County Democrats, hadn’t had a primary challenger in 14 years. In one scheduled debate against Ocasio-Cortez, Crowley sent a surrogate.
In the few weeks since then, Ocasio-Cortez has amassed more than 700,000 Twitter followers and has been handing out endorsements to candidates deemed to be progressives enough. “When I call a Congressional candidate Progressive, it’s because they meet ALL of these standards: No Corporate [money], Medicare for All, Tuition/Debt-free College + Trade School, Criminal Justice Reform, Green New Deal, Common-Sense Gun Reform, Equal Rights for All,” she tweeted.
Sanders’ office announced today that he and Ocasio-Cortez will campaign for two Democrats in Kansas this Friday.
First, at the Orpheum Theatre in Wichita, the pair will campaign for James Thompson, an Army veteran and attorney who was a registered Republican until March 2016. He lost a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by Mike Pompeo when the congressman was chosen to lead the CIA.
The Kansas primary is Aug. 7. On the Republican side of the 4th Congressional District race, Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kan.) faces a challenger named Ron M. Estes.
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez will then campaign at the Reardon Convention Center in Kansas City for Brent Welder, another former Sanders campaign veteran who is aiming to oust incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.).
“All across this country people understand that we need a government that represents all of us, and not just billionaire campaign contributors,” Sanders said in a statement. “We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage, we need healthcare for all, we need to make public colleges and universities tuition-free and we need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.”
“These are popular ideas in Vermont, in the Bronx, in Kansas and in every state in the country,” he added. “Candidates who run on a progressive agenda can and will win.”
Ocasio-Cortez declared “the political revolution is alive and well in Kansas.”
“James Thompson and Brent Welder know that policies like Medicare for All, Tuition-free College and Trade School, and a living wage can win across the country – including the Midwest,” she added.