Wednesday received a prominent progressive endorsement from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, days before Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is slated to throw her support behind the Vermont senator for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Omar’s endorsement and Ocasio-Cortez’s anticipated support come weeks after Sanders suffered a heart attack and stayed off the campaign trail over the past few weeks. The endorsements could give him a jolt of momentum, especially among progressive voters, as Sanders, 78, lags in the polls and faces new questions about his health.
Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are part of the “squad” of four progressive House lawmakers who are all women of color. They were all elected in the 2018 midterm elections and have become vocal members of the House who have endured attacks from President Donald Trump.
“The senator is someone who understands that our movement isn’t just for a few. It’s for everyone,” Omar said in the endorsement video. “The senator is the only candidate that isn’t about leaning a particular way, but being true to yourself and fighting for what you believe regardless of what the obstacles are.”
At Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Ohio, Sanders announced that he’s holding a Saturday rally in New York City with a “special guest.” Reports quickly surfaced that liberal star Ocasio-Cortez would appear alongside him and endorse him in her hometown of Queens.
Tuesday’s debate marked Sanders return to the campaign trail since his heart attack.