With Missouri’s presidential primary elections less than one week away — and as the field of Democratic candidates quickly tapers — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign has opened several new offices in Missouri.
The progressive candidate’s campaign opened four offices in Missouri’s largest and more urban cities over the weekend: Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis. The campaign said it’s held hundreds of events across Missouri and has raked in more than $1.3 million from 85,000 contributions.
“The people have always been the heart of this campaign, and we saw the people out in force for Bernie this weekend,” Tony Anthony, the campaign’s Missouri director, said in a statement. “We have a lot of work left to do, but Bernie’s multiracial, multigenerational, people-powered movement for real change is strong and growing in Missouri.”
But in an increasingly red, rural state like Missouri, can Sanders’ message of democratic socialism resonate with Democratic voters?
St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green pointed to how Sanders fared in the 2016 election in Missouri as to why she rejects the argument the state is too conservative for such a candidate. Green, a state Senate candidate, was the first elected official in Missouri to back Sanders then — and today she’s a pledged Democratic National Committee (DNC) delegate for the Vermont senator.
“Sen. Sanders lost Missouri by 1,574 votes in 2016,” Green told The Missouri Times. “I think going into it this time around, we have a lot more organization and resources and better name ID. I anticipate us being victorious come March 10.”
“Bernie brings us back to what the Democratic Party is supposed to be: the party for everyday people, fighting for living wages, immigrant rights, holding corporations accountable for their greed,” she continued. “I think we’ve strayed from [those values] in the Democratic Party.”
A January survey of Democratic primary election voters in Missouri had Sanders polling at just 7 percent, solidly behind Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. (Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar have since dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden.)
Following Super Tuesday, the primary appears to be more and more of a contest between Sanders and Biden. In fact, the Missouri Democratic Party canceled a planned Sunday forum in Kansas City, citing the narrowing field. And the former vice president is scheduled to make appearances in St. Louis and Kansas City on Saturday.
Despite the unprecedented amount of money Bloomberg spent in Missouri and elsewhere in the U.S., Bloomberg suspended his campaign Wednesday. Ryan Hawkins, a Missourian who led Bloomberg’s campaign in the state, blasted Sanders’ policies as being “not in line” with the Show-Me State’s values in an interview with The Missouri Times just last month.
Bloomberg has also vowed to create a lasting infrastructure with his staffers in the state — something that could be instrumental to Missouri Democrats for years to come.
Despite the field getting tighter, Missouri’s primary ballot will still feature a bevy of candidates. A full list of who will be on the ballot can be found here.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.