The Vermont senator spoke for over an hour at Wilmington venue on Saturday.
Delawareans “Felt the Bern” at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday.
The 75-year-old senator from Vermont attracted a crowd of hundreds to the Chase Center in Wilmington. This was Sanders’ first time campaigning in Delaware as he contends for the Democratic presidential nomination against front runner Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’ visit to the First State follows that of GOP leading candidate Donald Trump who campaigned in Harrington on Friday. Next is Clinton who is scheduled to make an appearance at a rally on Monday in Wilmington.
Sanders energizes supporters
With 16 states won to date and 1,191 delegates backing him, Sanders is pushing forward and with more urgency as he attempts to catch up with Clinton’s delegate count of 1,941, not including super delegates.
During his speech on Saturday he asked supporters to vote for him next week.
“If you go to the polls on Tuesday, we’re going to win here in Delaware,” Sanders said. “The national polls have us in the lead.”
The crowd at Saturday’s rally was a good mix of Delawareans from New Castle County as well as some from Dover and visitors from states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Before Sanders took the stage, the crowd was welcomed by Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson, well-known for her roles in films like “Sin City” and “Rent.” The actress told the crowd that she had never followed politics before until she learned about the Vermont senator.
After Dawson spoke the excited crowd cheered, chanted and applauded as Sanders walked to the stage.
For months, Sanders has campaigned across the country telling supporters that he will be the type of president that will bridge the gap between the rich and poor; make healthcare accessible and free to all; make college tuition-free; back policies that will help save the environment; help bring racial and LGBT equality and more.
His message in Delaware wasn’t any different, he did however try to appeal to residents in the state by quoting a New York Times article where Vice President Joe Biden – a Delawarean – expressed his personal sentiments on the current contest between Sanders and Clinton.
“Let me just read to you what it said: ‘He remains neutral in the battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, but not between their campaign styles. He’ll take Mr. Sanders’s aspirational approach over Mrs. Clinton’s caution any day,’” Sanders read as the crowd burst into cheer.
“I like the idea of saying that we can do much more because we can!” Sanders told supporters. “I don’t think any other Democrat ever wants to say ‘we can’t think that big, we ought to downsize our outlook because it’s not realistic.’ Well come on! I’m part of the Democratic party and I say – we can do it!”
Sanders expressed his optimism that the White House was within reach and that the political movement he is creating will continue to surprise those who doubted his chances from the beginning.
“We have confounded the experts, we are in this campaign to win and we will,” he said to the cheering crowd.
Before Sanders took the stage, supporters like Newark resident Amy Rowe said that she had been looking forward to the chance of hearing Sanders in person.
“I’m here to see [Bernie Sanders] with my own eyes. I love Bernie and everything he says in the campaign trail. It’s exciting to see him in Delaware,” Rowe said. “I'm concerned with environmental issues and our heavy reliance of fossil fuels. We also have too many young people incarcerated.”
Another supporter, Leigh Ulrich from Townsend, said that she liked Sanders’ stand on the economy.
“I like his willingness to fight for the middle class and the fact that he really feels that way – it’s not a political agenda – there is something really attractive about that,” Ulrich said. “Having him come to Delaware makes me feel like every delegate counts and that he needs all the support he can get.”
Neither Rowe nor Ulrich said that they could see themselves voting for Clinton even if she ended up being the Democratic nominee who ran against Trump or Ted Cruz in the general election.
“No, I would never vote for her. I’m very afraid of what a Clinton presidency would look like,” Rowe said. “Even if it was between she and Trump, no. People deserve the candidate that they choose.”
Sanders supporters in Delaware will be hard at work from now until the end of day Tuesday when polls close. Numerous events have been scheduled throughout the state to help get out the vote.
Other states will also hold presidential primaries on Tuesday including, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.