Bernie Sanders just won a game-changing endorsement with weeks to go before the first primary ballots are cast.
MoveOn, the 17-year-old progressive advocacy group with hundreds of thousands of members nationwide, just overwhelmingly endorsed the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign. The endorsement race wasn’t even close — Sanders won 79 percent of the vote with over 340,000 ballots cast.
“This is a massive vote in favor of Bernie Sanders, showing that grassroots progressives across the country are excited and inspired by his message and track record of standing up to big money and corporate interests to reclaim our democracy for the American people,” said MoveOn executive director Ilya Sheyman in a public statement.
“We will mobilize aggressively to add our collective people power to the growing movement behind the Sanders campaign, starting with a focus on voter turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
Out of all ballots cast, Hillary Clinton won only 14.6 percent of the group’s votes, and Martin O’Malley won 0.9 percent of the vote.
“I’m proud to have MoveOn and its community of millions of members join our people-powered campaign,” Sanders said in the official statement. “I’m humbled by their support and welcome MoveOn’s members to the political revolution.”
The endorsement comes at a crucial time for the Sanders campaign. Polls released late last week showed Sanders neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire. Sanders also polled at nearly 40 percent nationally, cutting into Clinton’s previously considerable lead. Political analysts have suggested that a Sanders win in both Iowa and New Hampshire would make the race for the Democratic nomination a toss-up.
Iowa caucus-goers will vote on February 1, and the New Hampshire primary takes place on February 9. The only state left where Clinton is still outside the margin of error is Nevada, though a Sanders win in the Hawkeye and Granite States would give the rising candidate plenty of momentum going into Nevada’s February 20th primary.