WASHINGTON — The Working Families Party endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders'( I-Vt .) bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, after a huge majority of its members backed the progressive candidate. It is the first time the party has formally backed successful candidates in their own nationals election.
Over 87 percentage of Working Families Party members voted for Sanders, compared to 11.5 percentage for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 1.1 percentage for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. The final endorsement decision was based on both the membership vote and the votes of the group’s national advisory board.
“We want to live in a nation that allows all people to live a decent life , no matter what is in their parents’ bank account or who is in their family tree, ” Working Families Party National Director Dan Cantor said in a statement. “But the super-rich have use their economic muscle to buy political muscle, and unless you’re one of them, what you think the administration is do basically doesn’t counting. That’s why we’re standing with Bernie Sanders to build the political revolution and construct our nation into one where every family can thrive.”
“Bernie has devoted his career to helping running families and is gratified by the support of the Working Families Party, ” Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said in a statement. “Together they will work to take on the billionaire class and change the the rigged economy that is being held up by a corrupted political system.”
The Working Families Party, which has chapters in ten nations, elected its first nation legislator on its own party line in a Connecticut state Senate special election in February. It has also elected members to city council and school board seats. The party typically endorses Democrat when it doesn’t have a member in the race, but sometimes will threaten to challenge Democrat who stray too far away from its progressive-populist agenda in primaries.
The party’s chapters have find issue advocacy success in pressuring Democrat to pass minimum wage and paid sick leave laws. It has emerged as a leading voice on the left, helping to elect Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.( De Blasio endorsed Clinton in October .)
The Sanders endorsement is significant because the Working Families Party’s fellow progressive groups — like MoveOn and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee — have so far held off on endorsing in the Democratic primary, even as most of the country’s major labor unions have already backed Clinton.
Clinton results Sanders by virtually 23 phases nationally, according to HuffPost Pollster.
“Hillary Clinton has wide and deep support from progressives across the country, including elected leaders, grassroots organizers and labor unions, ” Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for Clinton’s campaign, said in a statement later on Tuesday. “They know her tireless record of fighting for women, children and families and are energized by the bold, progressive political agenda she has put forward in this campaign.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said the Working Families Party elected its first nation legislator on its own party line in a New Jersey state Senate special election. It was a Connecticut state Senate special election.