In race after race this year, the candidate receiving support from Bernie Sanders has lost. Is it bad luck, or a sign of something bigger?
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), without question, led a revolution last year within the Democratic Party. Armed with deeply-held convictions, Sanders attempted to do what most considered impossible: knock off Hillary Clinton, a candidate who unenthusiastically delivered a stale message, but nevertheless held great sway within the party apparatus.
While Sanders ultimately failed to gain the party’s nomination, he did manage to elevate his message and brand to household-name status. But 2017 is proving that, despite nationwide name recognition, Sanders’ policies and the candidates who support them are not a slam-dunk, even in Democratic primary fights.
Below are the top 5 Bernie-backed candidates who have fallen short…
Keith Ellison: Sanders loudly and proudly supported Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) to become the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman. Sanders famously tangled with the DNC in 2016, and documents from WikiLeaks proved the organization was pulling the strings for Clinton. But Ellison ultimately lost his bid to Clinton campaign surrogate, Tom Perez.
Heath Mello: Perhaps the biggest head-scratcher on the list, Sanders weighed in on the Omaha, Neb. mayoral race. Sanders’ preferred candidate, Heath Mello, got into trouble with his party for being a pro-life Catholic, and ignited a national discussion among Democrats about abortion. Mello lost to incumbent Mayor Jean Stothert.
Kimberly Ellis: Equally as off the beaten path as the Mello race, Sanders waded into the fight for the California Democratic Party chairperson. After Sanders backed Kimberly Ellis, she lost to Eric Bauman, and the so-called Berniecrats disputed the results and charged the party with ballot stuffing.
Rob Quist: Sanders traveled to Montana to endorse the cowboy hat-wearing musician, Rob Quist, a man who had never run for public office. Despite his Republican opponent body-slamming a reporter the day before the special election for Montana’s at-large congressional seat, Quist lost, and Sanders’ streak continued.
Tom Perriello: National Democrats, including Sanders, lost big in Virginia this week when Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) defeated former Rep. Tom Perriello, the preferred choice of Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and former President Barack Obama. Northam, backed by top Virginia Democrats, walloped Perriello, 56 to 44 percent.
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