Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) emerged from one state’s Democratic convention hot on the heels of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Wisconsin State Democratic party held its meeting in Milwaukee over the weekend, and after the straw poll Sanders had the backing of 41 percent of delegates to Clinton’s 49 percent.
That came out to 252 of the 511 delegates, alternates and registered guests who voted in the straw poll throwing their support behind Clinton. Sanders was backed by 208, while Vice President Joe Biden and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley got just 16 votes each.
Former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), expected to announce his candidacy soon, got 8 votes. Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee got 5 votes. One person refused to vote for any of the candidates, four wrote in Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and one wrote in USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
At last year’s convention, Clinton got 55 percent in the straw poll.
“The Wisconsin straw poll and huge turnouts at town meetings in New Hampshire and Iowa are sending a message that people care about real issues like income inequality and the collapse of the American middle class,” said Jeff Weaver, the manager of Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.
That cuts into Clinton’s road-trip strategy with carefully selected sit-down meetings to paint herself as a candidate who understands ordinary Americans.
Sanders drew a standing-room-only crowd in Keene, N.H., on Saturday, where the senator told the crowd he was going to tell them a secret: “We are going to win New Hampshire.”
“This is not about Bernie Sanders,” he said. “You can have the best president in the history of the world but that person will not be able to address the problems that we face unless there is a mass movement, a political revolution in this country. Right now the only pieces of legislation that get to the floor of the House and Senate are sanctioned by big money, Wall Street, the pharmaceutical companies. The only way we win and transform America is when millions of people stand up as you’re doing today and say. ‘Enough is enough. This country belongs to all of us and not a handful of billionaires.’”
“I am not going to give up,” Sanders added. “We are going to take them on.”