Progressive Newcomer Ocasio-Cortez Teams Up With Movement Icon Bernie Sanders to Flip Red Districts

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will head to Kansas next week to campaign for Democratic congressional hopefuls in the state, according to The Washington Post.

The Kansas tour will kick off in Wichita, where the two will rally around James Thompson in his fight for the state’s 4th Congressional District. They’ll then head to Kansas City and support Brent Welder in his hopes to gain the Democratic nomination for Kansas’ 3rd District.

Both districts in the red state have Republicans currently representing them, but the excitement supporting Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders may help change that.

Ocasio-Cortez made national headlines when she won the Democratic nomination for New York’s 14th District, beating out incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley. The 28-year-old is a self-declared democratic socialist and was a firm supporter of Sanders in his 2016 presidential campaign.

The term “democratic socialist” can attract criticism from both moderate leftists and the right, but Thompson isn’t too worried about it.

“I’m extremely, extremely excited to have the senator and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in town for an event,” Thompson told the Post. “They can say that, but my opponent here is a corporate socialist who’s been redistributing wealth to people who don’t need it.”

Thompson may have a chance against his Republican opponent, Rep. Ron Estes. He lost to Estes in a special election last year by only a small margin.

Welder’s path to victory looks a little clearer, too, as the district voted narrowly for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Sanders told the Post he hopes his and Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive message resonates with people outside of typically blue areas to rally and support Democratic candidates:

“All over this country, you have people who understand that we need to [change] the minimum wage to a living wage; that health care is a right; that we need to rebuild our infrastructure. Those are popular issues in the Bronx. These are popular issues in Vermont. In Kansas, they’ve gone through the [former governor Sam] Brownback agenda, and they do not believe you should give tax breaks to the rich and cut Social Security.”

For now, the Kansas trail is the only plan for Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders to campaign together. However, both progressives will continue to campaign for like-minded candidates across the country.

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