CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may be falling behind in the Democratic Primary, but he appears to have some strength in West Virginia.
Democratic Party Vice Chair Chris Regan joined gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Jeff Kessler (D – Marshall, 02) in endorsing Senator Sanders for the nomination in West Virginia.
Kessler endorsed Sanders in February.
“He supports investing in people and investing in infrastructure,” Kessler said during a conference call with Regan and Symone Sanders, the National Press Secretary for the Bernie Sanders (no relation) campaign. “That’s been the hallmark of my platform for Governor, and it lines up with Senator Sanders 100 percent.”
Regan cited the Vermont Senator’s energy policy, as part of an effort to move on from over reliance on coal, as part of the reason he is throwing in his support with Sanders.
“There’s an increasing realization that world markets and the markets here in the United States have changed and also a realization that if coal was going to save West Virginia by itself, it would have done it by now,” Regan said.
“It has not been the solution, and it is not going to be the main part of the solution going forward. We need a new economy here, and Senator Sanders is pointing the way towards it.”
Symone Sanders said Senator Sanders will likely visit Charleston, Morgantown, and parts of McDowell County in the next week, but his schedule has not been finalized.
“The key part of our campaign is that we live in a rigged economy that is kept in place by a corrupt system of campaign finance,” Symone Sanders said. “When we travel the country, when we go places, it’s McDowell County. It’s places in South Carolina. It’s Baltimore. All over the country you see pockets of extreme poverty–people that are really feeling the fact that the wealth has been concentrated at the top and not trickled down. Every day Americans haven’t seen that.”
In the last MetroNews/Repass Poll released in February, Sanders led Secretary Clinton by a margin of 57-29, with 14 percent unsure. The margin for error in that poll was +/- 4.9 percent.
“Let’s get behind Bernie,” Kessler said. “I’m feeling the Bern. I came out very early for him. I know a month or two ago they had a poll and he was winning significantly. Let’s hope that continues to hold up to Election Day, but it will only occur if people get out and vote for their candidates that truly want to move our state forward.”
Another MetroNews/Repass poll will be released later this week.
Sanders path to the nomination, though, is diminishing. He needs to average 65 percent of the vote from here on out in the 14 remaining nominating contests to overtake Clinton in the pledged delegate count.
Democratic delegates are divided proportionately based on the popular vote.