Feel The Bern! Sanders Is Getting Involved In Congressional Races — And Democrats Are Running Scared

REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys/Pool

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is giving Democratic leaders plenty of headaches.

The relentless presidential candidate is now channeling his army of small-dollar donors to congressional candidates around the country.

Sanders announced over the weekend that he will be supporting Democratic National Committee chairwoman [crscore]Debbie Wasserman Schultz[/crscore]’s primary opponent Tim Canova.

Tim endorsed Bernie’s presidential campaign, and was inspired to run because of Wasserman Schultz’ support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. His campaign is funded like ours, by lots of people giving small amounts of money,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver wrote in an email. The email goes on to ask Sanders supporters for $2.70 each, to be split between the two candidates.

Canova is giving Wasserman Schultz a run for her money in their Florida primary. He has raised over $1 million from more than 50,000 donors. Wasserman Schultz is now bringing Joe Biden to her district to help fundraise.

Previously, Sanders has highlighted other Democratic congressional candidates. “Zephyr Teachout literally wrote the book on political corruption and is running for Congress in New York. Pramila Jayapal helped lead the fight for a $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave in Seattle, where she’s now running for Congress. Lucy Flores is a progressive champion running for Congress in Nevada and one of the most courageous people I’ve met on the campaign,” Sanders wrote in an April 13 email.

He asked for a $2.70 donation to be split between the 3 congressional candidates and himself. Teachout is running for Congress in New York and previously challenged New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a primary run. Teachout has been one of the most successful fundraisers this cycle, powered mainly by small donors.

Flores, who Sanders endorsed, is facing Ruben Kihuen in her primary. Kihuen is endorsed by Senate Minority Leader [crscore]Harry Reid[/crscore]. Flores has been out fundraising Kihuen, despite his establishment backing. The campaigns have been releasing their weekly contribution figures and, in the week ending April 28, she raised over $51,000 from 3,679 donations while Kihuen raised $22,278.27 from 185 contributions. Flores has raised nearly $1 million this cycle.

Jayapal is running in a close primary against Brady Walkinshaw. The latest fundraising numbers, which were released before the Sanders email, had the two neck and neck in donations.

Two of the primaries, Flores’ and Teachout’s, are in June. Canova and Jayapal have their primary election in August.

As Sanders vows to fight on to the Democratic convention, he plans to keep leading his “political revolution” against Democratic leaders.

In his email supporting Wasserman Schultz’s opponent, he wrote, “a few weeks ago, we raised a tremendous amount of money for three progressive candidates for Congress. Your support changed their races overnight. In the days ahead, we’re going to add a dozen or more additional candidates to that list.”