Sanders aims to boost vulnerable Democrats in US tour

Oct 27, 2022, 4:06 PM | Updated: 10:13 pm

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off a multi-state tour in Oregon on Thursday by talking about abortion, but honed in on a topic some Democratic candidates have largely avoided on the campaign trail: The economy.

The tour is an effort to energize young voters and shore up support for vulnerable Democratic candidates ahead of the midterm elections. Other planned stops for Sanders include California, Texas, Michigan and the battleground states of Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“This is the most important midterm election in the modern history of our country,” Sanders told the crowd of hundreds of people gathered at downtown Portland’s Roseland Theater.

He criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the right to abortion, and then turned to the talking points he’s been urging Democratic candidates to take up for months, including the nation’s wealth inequality; fears that a Republican-controlled Congress may cut Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare; and the way that high corporate profits in the oil, food and prescription drug industries may be fueling inflation.

“If you’re sick and tired of paying four, five or even six bucks a gallon for a gallon of gas, understand that the largest five oil companies in America made $59 billion in profits during the second quarter alone of this year,” Sanders said, pinning inflation on the supply chain disruptions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine and “corporate greed.”

The rallies in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, included appearances with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek and Oregon’s Democratic nominee for the state’s 4th District congressional seat, Val Hoyle. Hoyle is running against Republican Alek Skarlatos for the seat left open by the retirement of longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio.

Typically a bastion of West Coast liberalism, Oregon has become the unlikely site of one of the most competitive governor’s contests in the country. Considered a toss up by analysts, the three-way race features Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson.

Democrats are concerned that Johnson may act as a spoiler by siphoning votes from Kotek and potentially boosting the GOP in turn.

“A vote for Betsy Johnson is a vote for Christine Drazan at this point,” Kotek said at the Portland rally.

Enrique Ruiz, a 24-year-old Portland resident and labor organizer who attended, said he already planned on voting for Kotek but was excited that Sanders came to town.

“The fact that Bernie is coming out here, it sends a very powerful message. If someone like Bernie recognizes that this is important, then I’ll be here,” Ruiz said.

Sanders is the latest high-profile progressive to stump for Kotek after Sen. Elizabeth Warren visited Portland last weekend. President Joe Biden also campaigned with Kotek during a recent trip to Oregon, and former president Barack Obama has urged voters to support her in a recently released digital ad, as national Democrats pay close attention to the race.

Democrats hope the rallies will energize their base and sway potential Johnson voters to support their candidate instead.

All three candidates will have to woo nonaffiliated voters, who outnumber both registered Democrats and Republicans in the state, although they surpass Democrats by a much slimmer margin.


This story has been updated to remove a reference to a tour stop in Florida, because that event is no longer planned.


Claire Rush is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Claire on Twitter.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

19 hours ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

21 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

1 day ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

3 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

4 days ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Sanders aims to boost vulnerable Democrats in US tour