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Sanders Courts Elizabeth Warren's Supporters

Damian Dovarganes
California Democrats cheer during a speech by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in May. Since Warren has made clear she will not be running for president in 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders has begun trying to win over her supporters.

Now that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made it very clear that she won't be a candidate for president in 2016, some of the Democratic candidates in the race are actively seeking the backing of Warren's supporters.

Bernie Sanders is making a major effort to bring them over to his presidential campaign.

For a number of months, a group of political activists has tried to persuade Warren to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, but she's firmly resisted these efforts.

It seems that her message has finally gotten through to her supporters in New Hampshire, because the "draft Warren for President" campaign has closed its operations.

Now the scramble is on among the other Democratic candidates to win the backing of many of the people in "the draft Warren group."

Sanders thinks he has a good chance of picking up a lot of these Warren supporters. "Senator Warren and I have been working since she's been in the Senate together on a number of issues, including opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership,” he says. “So I think that we stand a very good chance of getting the support of many of the folks who have supported her."

"Senator Warren and I have been working since she's been in the Senate together on a number of issues ... So I think that we stand a very good chance of getting the support of many of the folks who have supported her." - Sen. Bernie Sanders

Megan Remmel, a political science professor at Norwich University, thinks it's important for the Sanders campaign to actively solicit the support of the Warren group.

"I think Sanders has the best chance of wooing them over both ideologically and in terms of his approach and his delivery and how he speaks to people,” she says. “So I definitely think this is a contingent that Sanders could very readily win over. He and his campaign are going to have to put in the effort to do so.”

Remmel says the Clinton campaign should take note of the fact that the national press corps has treated Sanders as a serious candidate in the Democratic presidential primary. "I'm kind of surprised at how quiet the Clinton campaign has been because that's basically giving the stage to these other candidates and allowing them to start to persuade and to try to grab some of those voters,” says Remmel.

Former Gov. Madeleine Kunin heads up the Clinton campaign in Vermont. She acknowledges that many former "draft Warren" activists will probably join the Sanders campaign. "I don't think it's a given that Bernie automatically gets all those votes, but organizations like the Daily KOS – the KOS who's been really promoting Warren, is probably likely that they'll move over to Bernie," she says.  

The Daily Kos is a left leaning and influential political blog.

Sanders is already having some success in attracting Warren's supporters. Recently, he hired one of the top "draft Warren" leaders, Kurt Ehrenberg, to head his New Hampshire campaign.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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