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Bernie Sanders Says He Supports Primary Challengers For Manchin & Sinema

Bernie Sanders Says He Supports Primary Challengers For Manchin & Sinema

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said today is a “sad day” for the United States, blaming Republicans for not supporting the bill and singling out Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona for their continued obstruction over voting rights legislation.

“I regard it as a very sad day for our country, and I mean this very sincerely, that not one Republican in this body is prepared to vote for this bill,” Sen. Sander told reporters.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

The progressive Sanders had told reporters on Tuesday that he would support primary challengers to Manchin and Sinema, which opens the door for others in the caucus to add their support to a challenge as well.

“What’s at stake is the future of American democracy,” said Sanders. “And the fact that all over this country, Republican governors and legislators are moving aggressively to suppress the vote and to impose extreme gerrymandering, among many other things.” The Senator added, “Anybody who believes in American democracy has got to vote to enable us to go forward with 50 votes to suspend the filibuster, at least on this vote.”

Progressive Democrats are increasingly looking for a candidate to challenge Sinema in 2024 following her stubborn opposition to changing Senate filibuster rules last week, with Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona emerging as the strongest potential primary contender. Sinema lost further support on Tuesday when EMILY’s List, a group that backs pro-choice Democrats for office, said it would not endorse Sinema for reelection in 2024 if she continued to oppose filibuster reforms.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) didn’t oppose the suggestion of backing primary challengers to Manchin and Sinema when asked about the idea when taking questions from reporters on Tuesday evening, but he wouldn’t elaborate on a specific primary scenario. “I’m not getting into the politics,” Schumer said, shaking his head in dismay at the question. “This is a substantive, serious issue.”

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